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New Mozilla CEO accused of homophobic beliefs

BusinessNews
by Chloe Albanesius, 28 Mar 2014News
New Mozilla CEO accused of homophobic beliefs

Mozilla's new CEO this week expressed "sorrow" for having caused pain by making a donation in support of California's Prop. 8, which sought to ban gay marriage. And while he made an "active commitment to equality," Brendan Eich did not elaborate on his beliefs regarding gay marriage and the LBGT community.

In a blog post, Eich acknowledged that "there are concerns about my commitment to fostering equality and welcome for LGBT individuals at Mozilla."

The issue dates back to 2008, when Prop. 8 was on the ballot. At the time, Eich made a $1,000 donation in support of its passage. Though it passed, the Supreme Court eventually ruled that Prop. 8 was unconstitutional and the ban was struck down. Eich's donation cropped up in 2012, at which time he addressed it loosely, and again after he was appointed CEO earlier this week.

Mozilla employees and partners expressed concern over Eich's appointment. Entrepreneur Hampton Catlin, who had been working on apps for Firefox OS, said this week that he will boycott all Mozilla products until Eich is removed from day-to-day activities at the company.

"As a gay couple who were unable to get married in California until recently, we morally cannot support a Foundation that would not only leave someone with hateful views in power, but will give them a promotion and put them in charge of the entire organization," Catlin wrote.

In a personal blog post, Christie Koehler, Community Building Education Lead at Mozilla, said she was "personally disappointed about Brendan's donation. However, aside from how it affected me emotionally, I have nothing to indicate that it's materially hurt my work within the Mozilla community or as a Mozilla employee."

Eich did not specifically mention the donation in his latest blog post. Instead, he committed to "equality in everything we do, from employment to events to community-building." The Mozilla co-founder also said he'd work with LGBT communities and allies, "to listen and learn what does and doesn't make Mozilla supportive and welcoming."

Eich also issued support for Mozilla's existing community guidelines, inclusive health benefits, anti-discrimination policies, "and the spirit that underlies all of these." He also made a "personal commitment to work on new initiatives to reach out to those who feel excluded or who have been marginalised in ways that makes their contributing to Mozilla and to open source difficult."

"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," he wrote.

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