In a surprising turn of events, Mozilla co-founder and CEO Brendan Eich resigned from his post due to a maelstrom over his appointment, considering his views on same-sex marriage. Eich had donated $1,000 to California’s Proposition 8.
Proposition 8 or Prop 8, was a constitutional amendment created by opponents of same-sex marriage and was passed in 2008. However it was ultimately ruled unconstitutional by a federal court two years later in 2010.
Eich, who had previously refused to give up the post, stepped down on Thursday. In a statement post his announcement he stated, "Our mission is bigger than any one of us, and under the present circumstances, I cannot be an effective leader. I will be taking time before I decide what to do next."
Eich’s appointment had generated a vehement reaction as three Mozilla board members resigned over his appointment. Furthermore, popular dating site OkCupid released a statement dissuading their users from using Firefox to access the site.
Like his appointment, his decision to resign was also the subject of endless dispute.
Charles Elson, director of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware, commented on Eich’s resignation by stating, “This is troubling because one’s politics is one’s own business. That’s been the rule in American business for a very long time.”
Firefox’s CEO’s resignation also came under an intense argument on a popular Reddit thread as users expressed reservations over the public outcry against his appointment.
One user commented, “People are free to boycott Mozilla and Mr. Eich, but the prevailing discussion is misguided…I don't agree with this man's beliefs, but what he does with his (legally) earned money is no one's business.”
While some users justified the protest, others were apprehensive of the fact that this issue got substantial media attention rather than a recent report on Apple and Google’s agreement involving at least a dozen more high-profile companies to suppress wages for thousands of their employees.
Regardless of the clamor, whether Eich was a victim of business politics or a “gay-bashing Nazi” still remains to be seen.