It was not the source. It was the catalyst - there was a media firestorm that precipitated the action, but the free software movement had been deeply unhappy with him for years.
Refusing to listen to so many GNU contributors and former FSF board members sends the message that the FSF is more about Richard Stallman as a person than about the free software community / movement.
I am not a huge Stallman fan. Personally he has many flaws. Then again who among us is perfect, particularly in that respect? But when it comes to his philosophy and hard line on free software, I fully support his position. Even if I don't 100% ascribe to all of it. Because without people like him willing to maintain a hard line stance for at least a sliver of the greater whole, nothing gets advanced. It's the 1% that change the world, not the "community".
Indeed - what the "many members" you reference were upset about was a bunch of political bullshit that had zero to do with the free software movement, and RMS does not suffer fools when it comes to the core principles of the free software movement.
I may not agree with all of those either, but in that respect as well I do agree with him far more than all the near-do-well hangers-on that were more than happy to show up well after RMS established the movement to try and co-opt it for their own agendas.
Movements like this do need someone that can rule with an iron fist and maintain the core principles and save them from dilution. Again for his personality faults, Linux would not be near the force it is today if Linus didn't rule the kernel with an iron fist.
Is that going to rub some people the wrong way? I'd hope so - because if you aren't at least pissing a few people off then you really aren't accomplishing anything.
I dunno where we seem to have allowed our greater society expect that we should be able to go through life without being offended. Aside from being completely unrealistic and going against literally millennia of the human condition, if that was ever accomplished this would be the most boring planet in the universe to live on. No thanks!
As others have commented, the bigger issue that there doesn't seem to be anyone with a fraction of RMS's zeal for purity around the free software movement and without someone to be that torch bearer and standards enforcer if the "community" ends up ruling then free software will get watered down with so much crap it will cease to exist but in name only.
In trying to accommodate all you will please no one. Again this principal is as old as recorded history but newer generations think this time they have the magic key that their predecessors were just too dumb to grasp and this time it will be different. Ha!
Movements like this WOULD NOT EXIST without people like RMS. He has many unpolished and rough edges but he gets things done that move computer science forward.
There are plenty of people around with RMS's zeal for the free software movement. There are few people around with RMS's zeal for RMS.