Less than two weeks after announcing that former CTO Brendan Eich would take over as the CEO of Mozilla, Eich has stepped down amid controversy to due his personal beliefs and perceived “anti-gay” views.
Public discontent over Eich’s hiring stemmed from a 2008 donation of US$1,000 he made to California’s Proposition 8, which banned gay and lesbian marriages.
His ascension to CEO brought the issue back to the fore. Mozilla released a blog post on March 29 pledging its support for LGBT equality and inclusion of the LGBT community. Eich himself revealed his sponsorship of a project called Ascend that advocates for open-source technical training for underemployed LGBT, Latino and African-American developers.
Today, Mozilla executive chairwoman Mitchell Baker announced Eich’s resignation in a blog post, stating that Eich made the decision for Mozilla and its community. A decision on the future of Mozilla’s leadership has not yet been made.
“Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it,” Baker wrote. “We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: It’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves. We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better.”
In an interview with VentureBeat, Eich spoke about how he has always endeavored to keep his personal beliefs private, and that they do not reflect Mozilla’s philosophy or mission as a company.
“How I’ve conducted myself in my 16 years at Mozilla, I’ve always kept my personal beliefs out of it,” he said. “We won’t succeed in the mission if people can’t leave irrelevant, exclusionary stuff at the door.”
Speaking on the OkCupid message, Eich said, “I think they didn’t know that the Mozilla Foundation is on the side of LGBT equality.”
Additionally, Re/code has reported that Eich has stepped down from the Mozilla Foundation board as well.