Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich, has stepped down as CEO following protests over his support of a gay marriage ban in California. The Mountain View, California-based nonprofit maker of the popular Firefox browser infuriated many employees, board members and users last week by promoting Eich.
One of the major issues that forced his resignation was Eich’s $1,000 donation in 2008 to the campaign to pass California’s Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that outlawed same-sex marriages. The ban was overturned when the U.S. Supreme Court last year left in place a lower-court ruling striking down the ballot measure. The contribution had drawn some negative attention in the past but took on more weight when he was named CEO.
Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich’s note entitled ‘Inclusiveness at Mozilla’
I am deeply honored and humbled by the CEO role. I’m also grateful for the messages of support. At the same time, I know there are concerns about my commitment to fostering equality and welcome for LGBT individuals at Mozilla. I hope to lay those concerns to rest, first by making a set of commitments to you. More important, I want to lay them to rest by actions and results.
A number of Mozillians, including LGBT individuals and allies, have stepped forward to offer guidance and assistance in this. I cannot thank you enough, and I ask for your ongoing help to make Mozilla a place of equality and welcome for all. Here are my commitments, and here’s what you can expect:
-Active commitment to equality in everything we do, from employment to events to community-building.
-Working with LGBT communities and allies, to listen and learn what does and doesn’t make Mozilla supportive and welcoming.
-My ongoing commitment to our Community Participation Guidelines, our inclusive health benefits, our anti-discrimination policies, and the spirit that underlies all of these.
-My personal commitment to work on new initiatives to reach out to those who feel excluded or who have been marginalized in ways that makes their contributing to Mozilla and to open source difficult. More on this last item below.
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”; and in the meantime express my sorrow at having caused pain.
Mozilla is a movement composed of different people around the world, working productively together on a common mission. This is important to our ability to work and grow around the world.
Many Mozillians and others know me as a colleague or a friend. They know that I take people as they come and work with anyone willing to contribute. At the same time, I don’t ask for trust free of context, or without a solid structure to support accountability. No leader or person who has a privileged position should. I want to be held accountable for what I do as CEO. I fully expect you all to do so.
I am committed to ensuring that Mozilla is, and will remain, a place that includes and supports everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, economic status, or religion.
You will see exemplary behavior from me toward everyone in our community, no matter who they are; and the same toward all those whom we hope will join, and for those who use our products. Mozilla’s inclusive health benefits policies will not regress in any way. And I will not tolerate behavior among community members that violates our Community Participation Guidelines or (for employees) our inclusive and non-discriminatory employment policies.
You’ll also see more from Mozilla under my leadership in the way of efforts to include potential contributors, especially those who lack privilege. This entails several projects, starting with Project Ascend, which is being developed by Lukas Blakk. I intend to demonstrate with meaningful action my commitment to a Mozilla that lives up to its ideals, including that of being an open and inclusive community.