Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich Steps Down Following Controversy Over Support Of Gay Marriage Ban

The newly appointed chief came under fire for a $1,000 donation made in 2008 supporting a gay marriage ban.

Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich Steps Down Following Controversy Over Support Of Gay Marriage Ban
[Image: Flickr user Arturo Martinez]

Following a broad backlash over his support of California’s gay marriage ban in 2008, Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich has stepped down.


Mitchell Baker, executive chairwoman of the Mozilla Foundation, the nonprofit best known for its Firefox browser, announced Eich’s resignation in a blog post Thursday afternoon, apologizing to users for its slow response. “We’re sorry. We must do better,” she said.

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.

Known as the father of the programing language JavaScript, Eich donated $1,000 in 2008 to support Proposition 8, a California constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage. News of his contribution first came to light in 2012, but the controversy resurfaced when Eich, who previously served as CTO at Mozilla, was named to the top post last month. Following the appointment, Mozilla employees began publicly asking him to step down. Adding to that, dating site OKCupid on Monday published a letter on its website urging users on Firefox to switch browsers.

“What’s next for Mozilla’s leadership is still being discussed,” Baker said. “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.”

About the author

Based in San Francisco, Alice Truong is Fast Company's West Coast correspondent. She previously reported in Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and most recently Hong Kong, where she (left her heart and) worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.