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Dating website OkCupid urges boycott of Mozilla over anti-gay new CEO

Online dating website OkCupid has weighed in on Mozilla’s controversial new CEO Brendan Eich – urging its users to switch browsers over his past anti-LGBTI rights activism
Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich
Photo by Darcy Padilla/Mozilla Foundation

Online dating website OkCupid has urged its users not to use Mozilla’s Firefox browser over the company’s appointment of a new CEO that donated to keep California’s ban on same-sex couples marrying.

Mozilla appointed JavaScript creator Brendan Eich to be its new CEO on 24 March, raising the eyebrows of many LGBTI employees of the company as he had donated a thousand dollars to the campaign that put same-sex marriage on the ballot paper in California – resulting in the state ceasing to marry same-sex couples from November of 2008 until June of 2013.

Eich’s appointment as CEO of the company resulted in three of its directors resigning from the board over the weekend and LGBTI employees of the company have been voicing their concerns about Eich via social media.

OkCupid has posted a statement on its homepage for people who visit the site using Firefox as their web browser directing them to use other browsers such as Google Chrome and Safari.

‘In 2008, Mr. Eich supported the passage of California’s Prop 8, a statewide initiative to ban gay marriage, with a $1000 donation,’ the statement reads.

‘Granted, his contribution is now six years in the past, and people can change. But Mr. Eich’s boilerplate statements in the time since make it seem like he has the same views now as he did then. Mozilla recently promoted him to CEO, hence the issue only now coming to our attention.

‘His donation was known to Mozilla at the time of his promotion, and, furthermore, CEOs are rewarded based on their company’s performance. The CEO is the visionary for a company and its products.

‘We are sad to think that any OkCupid page loads would even indirectly contribute towards the success of an individual who supported Prop 8—and who for all we know would support it again. We wish Mozilla’s institutional commitment to freedom and openness were better reflected by their choice of leadership.’

OkCupid wrote that, ‘If individuals like Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8% of the relationships we’ve worked so hard to bring about would be illegal. Equality for gay relationships is personally important to many of us here at OkCupid.

‘But it’s professionally important to the entire company. OkCupid is for creating love. Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure.’

Eich has responded to concerns about his appointment as CEO with a statement in which he says he has no intention to change the way Mozilla treats its LGBTI employees.

‘I know there are concerns about my commitment to fostering equality and welcome for LGBT individuals at Mozilla,’ Eich wrote, ‘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.’

‘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.’

Eich has promised to work with ‘LGBT communities and allies, to listen and learn what does and doesn’t make Mozilla supportive and welcoming,’ and has given a ‘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.’

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