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Newly-Hired Mozilla Firefox CEO, Brendan Eich Resigns Following Pressure from Anti-Gay-Marriage Controversy

( [email protected] ) Apr 04, 2014 11:11 AM EDT
Brendan Eich was promoted to Mozilla's CEO ten days ago, but decided to resign today amid news that he once donated money to support an anti-same-sex marriage campaign.
(Photo: abcnews.com)

Brendan Eich was promoted to Mozilla's CEO ten days ago, but decided to resign today amid news that he once donated money to support an anti-same-sex marriage campaign.

In 2008, Eich donated $1,000 to California's Proposition 8 initiative that aimed to make same-sex marriage illegal in the state. That news was first made public in 2012, but it wasn't until Eich's promotion from chief technical officer to chief executive officer that people started to protest.

Eich was a founding member of the Mozilla Foundation back in 1998. The company owns and develops the Firefox browser which has gone on to be a top contender to Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

When vocal Mozilla employees and Firefox users took to social media to express outrage at Eich's promotion, internet dating site OkCupid asked its users not to use the Firefox browser to access their site. App development company Rarebit joined in by pulling its apps from Firefox, and certain members of Mozilla's board of directors stepped down.

Eich addressed the issue on his personal blog where he pledged to support LGBT-friendly policies at Mozilla and expressed sorrow for "having caused pain." He went on to say, "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."

But despite the clarifications and pledges to support those who felt wronged, Eich resigned from his new position, effective yesterday. "Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn't live up to it," a post at the official Mozilla blog states. "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."

There is no word yet if a replacement has been chosen or if the board of directors who stepped down will return to their positions.