Today, Mozilla’s Board of Directors has announced that CEO Brendan Eich is stepping down from his role as chief executive officer. The act is effective immediately and stems from a week of intense debate and backlash against Mozilla, after it became public knowledge that Eich had, in the past, financially supported efforts to deny equal marriage rights to same-sex couples.
Mozilla’s official statement is as follows:
“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.”
Mozilla’s strong statement in favor of equality will likely incur even more backlash, but this time from the rightwing. Anyone can support Mozilla by switching to Firefox, which is currently the only browser that publicly supports equality for all.
CREDO action has expressed support, asking people everywhere to support Mozilla with the following suggested tweets:
.@Mozilla stands up for equality! CEO steps down. #standwithmozilla #p2 #lgbt
CEO of @Mozilla steps down. #standwithmozilla by switching to @Firefox #p2 #lgbt
Victory for equality. #standwithmozilla #switchtofirefox #p2 #lgbt
Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it. 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.
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.
Our organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness. We welcome contributions from everyone regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, language, race, sexual orientation, geographical location and religious views. Mozilla supports equality for all.
We have employees with a wide diversity of views. Our culture of openness extends to encouraging staff and community to share their beliefs and opinions in public. This is meant to distinguish Mozilla from most organizations and hold us to a higher standard. But this time we failed to listen, to engage, and to be guided by our community.
While painful, the events of the last week show exactly why we need the web. So all of us can engage freely in the tough conversations we need to make the world better.
We need to put our focus back on protecting that Web. And doing so in a way that will make you proud to support Mozilla.
What’s next for Mozilla’s leadership is still being discussed. We want to be open about where we are in deciding the future of the organization and will have more information next week. However, our mission will always be to make the Web more open so that humanity is stronger, more inclusive and more just: that’s what it means to protect the open Web.
We will emerge from this with a renewed understanding and humility — our large, global, and diverse community is what makes Mozilla special, and what will help us fulfill our mission. We are stronger with you involved.
Thank you for sticking with us.
Photo courtesy of CREDO
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