Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich Resigns After Protests from Gay Marriage Supporters
Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich had been CEO for less than two weeks.
April 3, 2014 — -- Mozilla co-founder CEO Brendan Eich, who came under fire this week for donating to a campaign to ban gay marriage in California, has resigned.
Eich, who became the CEO of the nonprofit company behind Mozilla Firefox on March 24, had donated $1,000 for the successful Proposition 8 ballot measure that passed in the November 2008 state election.
Last year, California's ban on gay marriage was overturned when the Supreme Court left in place a lower court's ruling against the measure.
"I have decided to resign as CEO effective today, and leave Mozilla," Eich said in a statement provided by Mozilla. "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 was previously chief technology officer of the company, but had been involved in Mozilla's development starting from its conception in 1998. The previous acting CEO Jay Sullivan had left the company to pursue "new opportunities," the company said.
After the announcement that Eich would become CEO last week, some Mozilla staff protested his appointment while three of Mozilla's directors resigned. OKCupid protested by refusing to allow users to run the dating website with the Firefox browser.
A statement from an OKCupid spokesman said that the dating site firm is “pleased that OkCupid’s boycott has brought tremendous awareness to the critical matter of equal rights for all individuals and partnerships; today’s decision reaffirms Mozilla’s commitment to that cause.”
OKCupid ended its boycott on Wednesday after "consultation with Mozilla and understanding their commitment to take affirmative action," a spokesman told ABCNews.com.
OKCupid’s management had not called for Eich’s resignation but the company said today, “We are satisfied that Mozilla will be taking a number of further affirmative steps to support the equality of all relationships.”
In a statement on the Mozilla website, executive chairwoman Mitchell Baker, said today: "Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it. We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves.
"Brendan Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO. He’s made this decision for Mozilla and our community," Baker wrote. "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."
Baker wrote that the future leadership of the company is being discussed.
In a personal blog post addressing employees on March 26, Eich wrote that he recognized "there are concerns about my commitment to fostering equality and welcome for LGBT individuals at Mozilla," but he hoped "to lay those concerns to rest, first by making a set of commitments to you." He and the company emphasized equal health benefits to all domestic partners across the country.
Editor’s Note: The segment as originally aired on Good Morning America on April 4, 2014, and included on this page, has been updated to correct an error. Video of a demonstration by the Westboro Baptist Church, which is not connected to this story, was inadvertently used in the original segment. We apologize for the error and have removed that video.