As outrage spreads over Mozilla’s appointment of a CEO who financially supported the Proposition 8 campaign to ban gay marriage in California, the new head of the company issued a statement on his blog, expressing “sorrow at having caused pain.”
In 2008, Brendan Eich reportedly donated $1,000 to Prop 8, which fell after a US Supreme Court ruling in June 2013 let stand a federal district court’s 2010 decision that allowed same-sex marriage to be legalized in California.
In his post, Eich acknowledges “concerns about my commitment to fostering equality and welcome for LGBT individuals at Mozilla” but says he hopes to put those to rest through a series of commitments.
Those promises include working with the LGBT community and allies to understand how Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox web browser, is or is not supportive and welcoming, a commitment to promoting equality throughout the company, and outreach to “those who feel excluded or who have been marginalized in ways that makes their contributing to Mozilla and to open source difficult,” Eich writes.
He adds, “I know some will be skeptical about this, and that words alone will not change anything. I can only ask for your support to have the time to ‘show, not tell.’”
But Eich’s statement has not assuaged the anger of some Mozilla employees, who criticized the company for appointing Eich and called for him to step down.
Mozilla’s head of education is among those who back the company and its selection of Eich, even as she registered her disappointment over learning about his donation, The Huffington Post reports.
“Certainly it would be problematic if Brendan’s behavior within Mozilla was explicitly discriminatory . . . I haven’t personally seen this (although to be clear, I was not part of Brendan’s reporting structure until today),” Christie Koehler writes. “To the contrary, over the years I have watched Brendan be an ally in many areas and bring clarity and leadership when needed.”