Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich Resigns In The Wake Of A Massive Backlash Over His Anti-Gay Views

After just one week at his new post, in the midst of outrage over his anti-gay views, Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich stepped down on Thursday. A known opponent of same-sex marriage who'd donated to Proposition 8 — a campaign to ban gay marriage in California in 2008 — Eich has been at the forefront of Mozilla development for 15 years. He served as chief technology officer and developed the JavaScript programming language. When the former CEO Jay Sullivan recently left the company, Eich was appointed to the position.

It's clear those inside Mozilla weren't pleased with his appointment either, with some protesting his new role and others quitting altogether. The controversy has also been hard on Mozilla as a brand; OKCupid asked its users to boycott Firefox, Mozilla's flagship product, last week.

In a blog post, Mozilla released the following statement:

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.

Brendan Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO. He’s made this decision for Mozilla and our community.

Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard.

Mitchell Baker, Mozilla Executive Chairwoman, said Eich's capabilities as a CEO had been damaged in the ongoing controversy — although Eich's personal beliefs about gay marriage had been known to the Mozilla community since 2012.

“It’s clear that Brendan cannot lead Mozilla in this setting,” Baker told Re/code. “The ability to lead — particularly for the CEO — is fundamental to the role and that is not possible here. I think there has been pressure from all sides, of course, but this is Brendan's decision. Given the circumstances, this is not surprising."

As for who will be the next CEO, Baker says they've already spoken with individuals who could potentially fit the role.

Image: Wikimedia Commons