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  1. #1
    deplorable basketcase Tellenbach's Avatar
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    Default Mozilla and the Firing of CEO Brendan Eich

    The New Torquemadas

    Javascript creator Brendan Eich lasted a whole 10 days as CEO before Mozilla forced him out for donating $1000 to the Proposition 8 campaign back in 2008. This was the legislation that defined marriage as between one man and one woman. I'm not sure what the logic and reasoning was behind the firing. Mozilla did get pressured by OKCupid, but that's just 1 website and it's not like it's a heavy hitter like Amazon or Healthcare.gov. I have no problem with what OKCupid did. It's a private business and it can do whatever it wants, but for Mozilla to fold after 1 website complained is just weak.

    Now, there is the usual backlash against what many perceive as unfair treatment of Mr. Eich. On Mozilla's input page, there are now over 23,000 comments (94% frowny faces). Some remarks from Mozilla's Firefox Input page:

    There are nice and mean gay and straight people. Whether your gay or straight should not matter. I think gay people have the right to be in a union with the same rights as male\female marriage. However, I believe Mozilla is being intolerant to all beliefs, including those that differ from my own. Therefore, I'm deleting Firefox until Mozilla shows real tolerance for all. Live and let live on both sides of the argument. Bye Mozilla
    Your gutless decision to force the resignation of your CEO is a blow to the right of free speech. It is very chilling and cowardly decision. Un-American in every way. I will never buy a product from your company again.
    What say you?
    Senator Rand Paul is alive because of modern medicine and because his attacker punches like a girl.

  2. #2
    On The blessblessblessblesster
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    Although I don't agree with his apparent belief that homosexuality is wrong, having already hired him, I don't think removing him was appropriate. If I was making the hiring and firing decisions, someone's personal beliefs on homosexuality would alter my perception of them and likelihood to hire them, but only slightly.
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  3. #3
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    Well, to emphasize a technicality, he did "resign"; at least it was a step above firing.

    My thoughts on this are complex... For those who might not know, I am a supporter of gay marriage... but this situation is not black-and-white to me.

    First of all... I think it's unfortunate that they already knew his views but chose to keep him on, and only when it began to erupt in the business world did they put pressure on him. As the article pointed out, too, the donation was a fair amount of time in the past, and I don't really think it's prudent to punish people in present situations for unrelated past actions.

    But on the other hand... it is the business world, and if Eich's views were causing disruption in the industry, then as a major figurehead it is not really surprising that he would be asked to step down. It seems like this sort of thing happens quite frequently in business - I have known many people who have gotten fired from the business where I currently work for voicing offensive personal views. I echo what the management and sociology prof said: '"[...] You are potentially accountable for your private views," Barry said. "The fear of getting in trouble or not advancing causes people to self-censor. But that's what rank-and-file employees have always known."'

    I think this issue is sort of getting more attention than it's due because of the controversy of the issue involved. If no one really had a personal stake in gay marriage - which most of us have strong opinions - then I doubt we'd be hearing about this situation at all. A CEO got fired; this happens all the time. It is not really news in and of itself. And some of the input page comments are so melodramatic - "strive to emulate Big Brother in 1984"... "fascist tactics"... "Hitler would be proud"... "Gay Gestapo wolves"... lol!

    I guess my sort of fuzzy conclusion is that I don't think it was a kind or fair thing of Mozilla to do, but then business is not kind or fair and you accept that when you choose to play the game. Morally, I see it sort of treading a gray area. I think I would have been more pleased with Mozilla if they had elected not to take him on to the company knowing those views, but to bring him on, promote him, and then dump him once they received negative public feedback seems kind of hollow, and not particularly kind to Eich.

  4. #4
    Mud and rain and chaos... TickTock's Avatar
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    Corporations and business people, like politicians are weasels. They didn't care until it drew negative attention and then they obviously asked him to step down - and probably gave him a settlement for doing so - because it would have looked even worse on them if he was fired, and made him appear to be doing the greater good by self-sacrificing, and therefore seeking some redemption for his stupid view. A view which in all fairness he has a right to and shouldn't have any place in business, except that the progressive public, the same progressive public who are the majority of their users, would be inclined to use their right to move away from their product. But 'clearing out' such people who hold views make them out to have a moral conscious, which they don't have.
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    deplorable basketcase Tellenbach's Avatar
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    I wonder if he got a generous severance package. I doubt Mr. Eich would need it though. I'm not sure how licensing works with Javascript, but if he gets a penny from every website that uses Javascript, he'd be a very wealthy man.
    Senator Rand Paul is alive because of modern medicine and because his attacker punches like a girl.

  6. #6
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Apparently they feared consumer backlash for having such a CEO, so they fired him.

    Who knows if it's the right choice from a business perspective, but I can't really see what there is to cry foul about. This is theoretically exactly how private industry would allegedly correct for discrimination without regulating legislation (not that I believe such a thing really works).
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  7. #7
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    From The American Conservative:

    How The Eich Witch-Burning May Help Religious Liberty

    An excerpt...

    Just a thought here. The illiberality of the gay-rights movement in driving one of the top tech scientists from his job because of his private opposition to gay marriage may work to the benefit of religious liberty. Let me explain. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has been the key justice in decisions expanding gay rights (Lawrence in 2003, Windsor in 2013). He is known to be broadly libertarian in his legal thinking, which undergirds his pro-gay jurisprudence. But I was recently told by a well-informed SCOTUS watcher that Justice Kennedy’s libertarianism also makes him sensitive to the protection of free speech, especially religious expression.

    Conor Friedersdorf, a passionate proponent of same-sex marriage rights, lays into Mozilla’s cowardice here, and into those who pushed for Eich’s resignation, saying that it’s going to have a chilling effect on political discourse:

    The [Mozilla] statement continues, “our culture of openness extends to encouraging staff and community to share their beliefs and opinions in public.” But this forced resignation sends exactly the opposite message: that if you want to get ahead at Mozilla, you best say nothing about any controversial political issue, which could affect your career, whether now or years from now in a changed political environment.

    Mozilla says, “While painful, the events of the last week show exactly why we need the web. So all of us can engage freely in the tough conversations we need to make the world better.” Again, Mozilla’s actions will undercut tough conversations by making fewer people willing to engage in them. If you believe that an open, robust public discourse makes the world better, as they purport to, they’ve made the world worse. This action is a betrayal of their values, not a reflection of them.

    Watching what happened to Brendan Eich, and how intolerant and illiberal the gay-rights side can be, ought to be a wake-up call to Justice Kennedy as the High Court moves toward legalizing same-sex marriage. I don’t expect that there’s anything the Court can do — or should do — to protect someone like Eich or his company from the market consequences of their actions. But Justice Kennedy (and his eight colleagues) should not be deluded about the climate of hatred and intolerance that exists among some on the leading edge of the gay-rights movement. The idea that the only people whose lives this struggle touches in a negative and unjust way are gays and lesbians simply isn’t true. Though I think all of us expect that SCOTUS will legalize gay marriage, ratifying in law society’s growing acceptance of same, I think the Eich case will be a slap in the face to Justice Kennedy about the need to carve out a substantial and clear zone of religious liberty in the decision.

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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    I'm in agreement with those who think his hiring and firing/resignation, at least on the basis of him donating $1000 to Prop 8 years back is a negative thing and seems contrary to web freedom and freedom of speech.

    Personally, I consider him a douche for giving money to Prop 8. At the same time, if that was the sole reason he was essentially forced out of his position at Mozilla, that seems ridiculous. I guess the question is how his personal donation of $1000 for Prop 8 directly impacts his ability to do the job that he was hired to do for them -- does it?
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Personally, I consider him a douche for giving money to Prop 8.
    Do you really? Can people disagree with you and not be douches then?

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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    Do you really? Can people disagree with you and not be douches then?
    Yes, that's possible. I just happen to have strong feelings about Prop 8 in particular, and especially how the Mormon church dumped $1 million into it despite being in Utah, and how they preyed off the fears of the traditional Latinos in order to fan resistance. It should have never passed, most people were shocked.

    You don't have to consider him a douche, of course; it's a free country.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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