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Mozilla employees tell Brendan Eich he needs to “step down” (arstechnica.com)
97 points by steveklabnik 989 days ago | hide | past | web | 219 comments | favorite



The fact that they can come out and say this demonstrates that these employees, the people best able to assess this, don't believe that Eich will retaliate. That Mozilla is and remains a place where any employee can express their views on political issues, even if they know they're contrary to the CEO's. And that destroys any argument for Eich's role as CEO creating a conflict with Mozilla's ability to welcome LGBTQ employees and community members.

You have a right to work for whom you choose, but not to demand that everyone above you in a company concurs with your political views. This is the social media witch hunts we've seen in last few years reaching into actual corporate boardrooms and tossing out a man's career because he holds a view that is not only mainstream, but that he has demonstrated he won't bring into the workplace.

Let me be clear: I believe Brendan Eich is wrong about gay marriage. But I don't think the price of his convictions should be his career at Mozilla, a company he's played a large role in building, when there is no documented instance of him ever disparaging or otherwise harming LGBTQ employees or community members.


Let me be clear: I believe Brendan Eich is wrong about gay marriage. But I don't think the price of his convictions should be his career at Mozilla, a company he's played a large role in building, when there is no documented instance of him ever disparaging or otherwise harming LGBTQ employees or community members.

I don't know what the price of Eich's convictions should be, but I think that a good way to find out is for people who have been strongly affected by his convictions to say clearly what they think about it.

I don't know whether Eich will (or should) remain CEO, but whether he does or not, having people speak up in this fashion seems unambiguously positive.


No, it's not always positive. Mob mentality like this could be 'good' when applied to civil rights, the fact that he is not a minority and his views not popular in the zeitgeist makes him a good target. Of course this sort of things is considered bad when the target is a minority. Basically, what matters is whether or not you are part of a group that is perceived to have power. That will determine how the mob treats you.


I think that there's a real difference between types of behavior in this category. For example, if the same employees were calling him at night to yell the same message at him, I'm sure you'd agree that would be a terrible reaction. There are some pretty rude acts like that which are legal, but probably bad; e.g. the employees could go stand outside protesting loudly at his hypothetical kids' kindergarten, or spam all the Mozilla repositories with fake issues.

However, the specific behavior in the article does not seem like that. It is employees making tweets like "I love @mozilla but I'm disappointed this week" and "I'm an employee of @mozilla and cannot reconcile having @BrendanEich as CEO with our org's culture & mission. Brendan, please step down." That doesn't seem to be harassing or threatening or a witch hunt to me; it's individuals doing an honest job of saying their opinion.

Time will tell whether people start behaving worse than that, but I feel that so far this is an OK model of something you can do in a society when you feel strongly like someone has wronged you (but have no direct recourse.)


Witch hunts start with one person shouting that someone is a witch, and public opinion slowly grows and turns until someone is literally tied to a stake and has gas poured on them.

Nobody wants to literally burn someone alive. But at the same time, nobody wants to live with a witch in their community. Alone, nobody would go so far; but there's comfort and safety in numbers, and the more people support a cause, the easier it is to jump behind the masses and throw sharp objects without being singled out. If you'd like to see how an entire village can murder someone for, say, being a homosexual, google "necklacing".

Also, your idea of abusive behavior completely negates the real experience of people being harassed online. Women bloggers often get threatening letters and tweets that are hidden from view, telling them they should be raped, murdered, and worse. Even just a majority of people telling you you are a bad person is enough to cause severe depression and anxiety. Without experiencing it yourself, you really have no idea how horrible it can get. And if Brendan actually had a history of mental illness, this could easily drive him to kill himself, as many people have committed suicide from online bullying over the years.

Also: Are you saying these Mozilla employees were wronged? I'm certainly not aware if they were, so I don't see how any of this is justified.


'The mob' actually works on a variety of strange cognitive biases specific to group thinking. Part of it is who you are, part of it is who's leading the group and under what banner, if there's a perceived threat, and of course if there's some moral high ground that can be achieved. In general though, morality and critical thinking go out the window when large groups start agreeing with each other.


> strongly affected by his convictions

These sorts of convictions, that people hold on controversial topics, are like the (modern, non-fundamentalist) practice of religion: something you speak about to espouse your identification with a group, but which holds no sway one way or another with your day-to-day decision-making. They are, in Robin Hanson's terms, "far-mode beliefs."

And, as with the (modern, non-fundamentalist) practice of religion, the best attitude to follow, I think, is "as long as it doesn't affect anything important [like someone else's life], you can think whatever you like." This attitude allows people with diametrically-opposed far-mode beliefs to get along.


People are employed on what they contribute to the company, not on their social or political views.

If these employees are such bigots and fascists, that they can't fathom someone having a different opinion to their own, they should resign and work elsewhere.

Mozilla is a technology company with the mission to promote a free and open web. If these employees believed that Mozilla was some kind of political organisation, they are wrong and have been deluding themselves.


So preventing equality is not bigotry then? I would argue that calling out something like that is noble, not fascist.

Labelling the people who criticised Eich as fascists is as bad as calling him one for his beliefs.


Does Eich refuse to work with gay people? Is he suddenly firing people because of their sexual orientation or political beliefs? No. So who is the fascist? Looks like the mob who demand he resign or be fired because they don't like his views.

BTW:

Marriage equality? So why doesn't the campaign include polygamous families? They exist, they have kids, they even have TV shows, and there has been a cultural history of polygamy around the world for thousands of years until modern times.

The campaign for gay marriage is exactly that, gay marriage, but it is not a campaign for civil rights for everyone, because if it were, it would support the right for polygamous marriages to be recognized.


But he did give money that denied people's rights, so by your (weird, wrong and stupid definition) of fascist he is one. There is no mob, there are a few people and the "demand" is worded rather weakly. I would have expected a bit more of your fascists to be honest.


Please articulate how they are being bigots. Also, how exactly are they fascists? I don't see any of them advocating for the subjugation of individuality or economic freedom for the furtherance of the state. Fascism has an actual meaning, it's not just some mud to sling around.


He expressed his views publicly. They are subject to public criticism. It's absurd to characterize any form of criticism, especially something relatively mild as this, as a witch-hunt.

Anti-gay bigotry is socially unacceptable. Honestly anyone who thought about it at length ought to have realized we were heading in this direction. And the bar for denying an entire category of people's rights out to be relatively high, personal religious beliefs or not.

He might not have personally expressed bigotry, sure. But putting up $1K to a cause is almost worse, given that it's one of the more efficacious ways to support a cause. That cause happened to be in favor of denying civil rights.


Try to see this from another angle. It's 1970 and you've donated to an organization that advocates equal rights to blacks. As a consequence, when you rise through the ranks at your company and have the opportunity to be considered for CEO, your board of directors rejects you on the basis of that contribution.

What you're saying is it's ok to deprive a man of his livelihood based on the current state of public opinion, which shifts by the decade. Tell me you see how wrong that is.


Um, it's wrong, but only because of the particulars of this example, in that the board is probably racist. And to close the loop on your example, it would be open season on the board once public opinion caught up with them.

I think you're presupposing that principles are interchangeable and I don't accept that. I believe in some inherent human rights, and the merits of this particular issue are incredibly relevant. The gentleman in question made a substantial monetary contribution aimed at denying a collection of people a set of privileges.

The reasons for why society ought to privilege views like his over the rights of other people are flimsy at best; it's just a lousy idea given that the basis is wholly religious. Substitute something interracial marriage if you prefer. The fact is that some views are not just immoral in the face of society's avowed principles but unsound as well.


So you're arguing my general argument is invalid because in the specific example I use, you claim the board is racist. You then go on to claim that social principles aren't interchangeable and public opinion would eventually obliterate them. My question is, if public opinion has always been and always will be anti-racist, how did so many racists get on the board of not just a single company, but the majority of companies in the 70's? Not to put too fine a point on it, but your belief that principles aren't "interchangeable" (I think you meant "changeable" or "subject to change"?) is provably wrong.


In my view, the key difference is how a position touches 'human rights'. If it restricts it, like anti same-sex marriage, or racism, it is wrong, period.

The concept of human-rights is quite recent and not fixed, that's for sure.

Political, economic, or other personal positions, those should be fine as long as they don't affect your work conduct.


> I think you're presupposing that principles are interchangeable and I don't accept that.

This is essentially saying "my (current) religion is the only true one". Look at history. Principles are interchangeable, there's no reasonable way to deny that.

> I believe in some inherent human rights, and the merits of this particular issue are incredibly relevant. The gentleman in question made a substantial monetary contribution aimed at denying a collection of people a set of privileges.

So you don't believe in religious freedom then ? Or rather, if you are offended by this, just how offended are you by, say islam, which openly advocates beheading homosexuals inside America, and practices it in parts of the world. It even advocates beheading victims of homosexual rape (yes, really, they actually mention that).

The majority of humans currently alive are in favor of killing all homosexuals (not just muslims). Do you believe in democracy ?

All these things are in conflict, making reality way more complex than you suppose here.

Or are you merely having this opinion because you have a good chance of imposing it on this particular "witch" ?


Eich was actively trying to stop what many people think should be a human right. He should face flak, and get a hard time over it, they should threaten his position. Even if they don't get him out of CEO it will make the next idiot that's high up in a company think twice before donating to stop human rights.


(touching this issue with all due care as not to call in the activists; read all the way through before replying)

Redefinition of marriage is not a human right, sorry. I can't decide I'd like to marry my work and have society accept that as marriage. Marriage has a definition, that up until now hasn't included gay couples. Changing that is not trivial, is not a law of nature and is not supportable on human rights grounds.

Let's, for the sake of argument, assume that gay couples are already free to live together and enjoy the protection given to married couples: inheritance, hospital/prison visiting rights, IRS deductions, [whatever social right I may be missing]. I know that is not the case; bear with me.

Now, imagine that a group wants to reserve the right to call marriage limited to a long term commitment between man and woman. Also imagine that gay couples want to call their long term commitment a marriage.

Now, you have an unsolvable problem. Both groups may argue that it is their right to define what marriage is all the way to the end of times. The problem is mostly with the naming of the concept; it is not with rights attributed to gay couples. Framing the discussion around the concept is actually hurting LGBTQ movements.

My personal opinion? Grant all, and I mean all rights to gay couples that classic couples have. Use the first-come-first-served rule and maintain the term marriage to mean a classic family. Create a new term for gay couples.

Give it two generations and this whole shout war will subside, and by then everyone will naturally call gay couples married couples, just like any other. In the mean time, important goals can be reached faster (like visiting rights).


I don't accept this as "redefining marriage." For one thing, the definition has changed throughout history. "Redefining" is a talking point engineered by bigots when the fact is that gay marriage affects straight marriage not a whit. It's orthogonal.

Straight folks just want an exclusive right to define it, and on that basis deny that right to other people. Well, sorry, but nobody ought to have that exclusive right, especially when it's little more than a fig leaf to deny privileges to a group of people. We all know the real reason. It's religious, which just doesn't hold any water, and everybody knows that.

And your remedy is "separate but equal." Non-starter.


So it's not about words... or is it?

> "Gay couples have been allowed since 2005 to enter "civil partnerships", conferring the same legal rights as marriage, but campaigners say the distinction gives the impression that society considers gay relationships inferior."

http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/03/27/britain-gaymarriage...


Society DOES consider gay relationships inferior in many places, unfortunately.

Discrimination exists, and this same "different name" concept has existed, with socially damaging results, in the past:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separate_but_equal


Yes, and under Islam the punishment for simply being gay is DEATH - stoning, hanging and beheading - so why all the faux outrage at Brendan Eich instead of protesting outside mosques and embassies?!


If we exclude all the practical and legal aspects that are satisfied by a civil union, marriage is a ritual, a cultural custom. Its value and purpose lie in the symbolism ascribed to it. But customs aren't rights and they don't have to be inclusive.

What has been the symbolism of marriage in our culture? Part of it is definitely gender-neutral: celebration of a couple's love and their commitment to each other. But it has also been about the particular dynamic and beauty of a relationship between a man and a woman, including procreation. This part is very important to many people and it is taken away if the custom of marriage is changed to include gay couples.

I think this is a legitimate cultural dilemma where both sides can be empathized with. Opposing gay marriage (but not legally equivalent civil unions) can be a legitimate position that doesn't necessarily imply any sort of intolerance or hostility towards gays. Moreover, it is intolerant not to respect this position. I find it unacceptable for people to be ostracized and disenfranchised just for wanting to preserve a custom which they hold dear and which is part of their cultural identity.

You may think it's all just academic, but I'm actually convinced that a significant proportion (though probably not the majority) of gay marriage opponents isn't anti-gay. The unnecessary polarization of the debate doesn't serve good to the gay community either, as they feel more threatened than they should - such as in the case of Brendan Eich becoming Mozilla's CEO.

As for me, I think marriage shouldn't to be sanctioned by the state any more. Civil unions for everybody and let the cultural stuff be figured out organically.


Are you aware that prohibition of same-sex marriage in English legislation is a recent thing? It was only written into law in 1971.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nullity_of_Marriage_Act_1971

Marriage is tweaked when needed.


Actually, same sex unions were illegal under Roman law, even before Rome adopted Christianity.


"Separate but Equal" has been tried before. In Brown v. Board of Education - "Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal". Same can be said of marriage, it's impossible to attain equality in a separate "civil union" status. Also - marriage has been been redefined many times, it's certainly hasn't historically been immutable.



Ah, separate but equal. Why didn't anybody think of that?

Oh wait, they did: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separate_but_equal


Do not try to conflate etymology with racial segregation. It is dishonest and an obvious trick.


I'm not conflating it. I'm saying that the logic is exactly the same. And that it doesn't work, because the solution is not to further institutionalize discrimination just because some people can't cope with equality.


Come on, he didn't fund the war in Uganda. I don't share his views or anything but I don't see why "not liking the gays" or whatever should have any influence at all on whether or not he's suitable to run a tech company. It's not a political office.


He didn't "not like the gays". He helped keep gay people from their civil rights and harmed gay families.

The relevance to the CEO job is that he is a) boss of everybody at Mozilla, and b) the public face of Mozilla to customers, donors, partners, and the public. Having actively worked against the civil rights of gay people gives both groups cause to question their involvement, and has to make some employees nervous that they will face the same sort of discrimination at work that they have faced elsewhere in their lives.


He has a large say in the benefits and culture of the company he's going to be running. If he doesn't believe gay people should have all the rights and protections of straight people, how are they supposed to feel about the future of their benefits and culture of the company they work for?

Also, it's not about "not liking the gays". It's about things like letting gay partners have the same rights in medical cases of their spouses as straight spouses. It's about child custody, death benefits, and lots of other very important things that may not be a war in Uganda but they are massively important and life-changing for the people involved.


> but I don't see why "not liking the gays" or whatever should have any influence at all on whether or not he's suitable to run a tech company.

If a person in a position of power over others (hiring/firing/promoting) has openly held views of discrimination against a certain group of people, it is a problem. It doesn't matter if he's the president, or a CEO of a tech company.

Of course, its entirely possible that he doesn't let his views impact his work or the way he treats his employees.


What if his contribution wasn't because of his personal beliefs, but was out of business consideration? Perhaps Mozilla pays more in benefits for employees that also list dependents and so to help protect "the bottom line" he is resisting paying out more in benefits even if we disagree with how he is "saving" the company money (by preventing gay marriages).


To some degree, CEO is a political position. It is not so surprising that, if you are gay, or even if you are heterosexual but support gay rights, the publicly stated views of your organization's CEO would have an effect of your sense of belonging at that organization. I believe that it's unlikely that Eich's political views will ever affect his decisions for Mozilla, but they can certainly affect Mozilla's culture.


I don't share his views or anything but I don't see why "not liking the blacks" or whatever should have any influence on whether or not he's suitable to run a tech company. It's not a political office.


So if he donated to the KKK, would you still think "not liking non-white people" or whatever should have any influence on whether or not he's suitable to run a tech company? It's not a political office.


Just so you understand, you're comparing the KKK to Prop 8 supporters.


The hullabaloo 50 years ago about interracial marriage followed a very similar course to what's happening today: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loving_v._Virginia

For a long time, everybody was opposed, but now it's just fine with most people:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/163697/approve-marriage-blacks-wh...

Hardcore racists now know that talking about "miscegenation" will get them ostracized. So yeah, the KKK is a pretty reasonable parallel here.


I think one of the big problems is that he is head of Mozilla which has a reputation of being a do good organisation. Having someone who did bad (as some people would say) isn't really in line with that


Well, we're talking about real people with real families who want to be able to have equal protections under the law and look out for themselves.

It may not be "the war in Uganda", and it may not affect you personally, but it's certainly a critical issue for some people.


>when there is no documented instance of him ever disparaging or otherwise harming LGBTQ employees or community members.

Except the bit where he contributed $1000 to a campaign to vilify them and take away their rights.


Here's the proposition's full text:

http://www.ag.ca.gov/cms_pdfs/initiatives/i737_07-0068_Initi...

It hardly vilifies anyone--it's pretty stupidly worded as is ("marriage"? What is that? How does it compare with "civil union"?)

Look, did you vote for Obama or Bush? Then you too have actively vilified people and acted to take away their rights.

We can't punish people for participating in our form of government, even if we disagree with them. Aaargh.


>"marriage"? What is that?

Marriage is a defined legal construct, not an abstract idea.

>We can't punish people for participating in our form of government, even if we disagree with them.

Of course we can. It's the government that can't. We can freely choose who we associate with, and we can freely choose to not associate with people who hold opinions that we feel are immoral, even if the opinion isn't illegal.


>> Of course we can. It's the government that can't.

Is that true? I'm not American or a lawyer so I don't know what workplace discrimination laws are like, but I would assume that in many western countries, you can't legally discriminate against or harass workers or fellow employees based on their beliefs.

This opens up a legal question to which I don't know the answer: Where would these "step down" tweets tread legally with respect to workplace harassment?


I don't think he could be fired for his belief. The goal is to pressure him to step down of his own accord.

You may have a point on workplace harassment, although I would doubt that he would push for that because of the negative PR that would rain down upon the company.


The difference between voting for Prop 8 and voting for Obama or Bush is that voting for a political candidate is a much more complicated affair. Obama and Bush have opinions about many issues, and it's impossible to find a political candidate that agrees with you on every issue. So you necessarily must make compromises.

But Prop 8 is much more simple. Here is the full text:

>SECTION I. Title >This measure shall be known and may be cited as the "California Marriage Protection Act." >SECTION 2. Article I. Section 7.5 is added to the California >Constitution. to read: >Sec. 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or >recognized in California.

Voting on that measure is a very simple decision: you either agree with that one point or you disagree with it. So yes, it is possible to create a much better opinion of a person's view on a particular matter who votes one way or another on Prop 8 than on which candidate they vote for.


> Look, did you vote for Obama or Bush?

He lives in the UK, so I doubt it.

Also: when there are only two candidates with any real chance of winning, voting for the one who (personally and party-affiliation-wise) has a more liberal attitude to gay rights is obviously not actively vilifying gay people and acting to take away their rights.


Voting for a person who does a variety of good and bad things is very different than taking a specific action whose only person is to strip gay people of their civil rights and harm gay families.


Last election, I voted for Stella Creasy. So far she's been pretty good value and low on the vilification factor.



I actually consider it worse for an individual to have contributed to the marginalization of a group (in this case financially) of American citizens than to just have a documented instance of disparaging comments towards the group. In the former the individual is actively involved in marginalizing the group whereas with the latter the individual is stating an opinion. Your opinion matters, but what you do with your opinion matters even more.


> That Mozilla is and remains a place where any employee can express their views on political issues, even if they know they're contrary to the CEO's. And that destroys any argument for Eich's role as CEO creating a conflict with Mozilla's ability to welcome LGBTQ employees and community members.

Not that I necessarily think having Eich as CEO would make Mozilla unable to welcome LGBTQ employees, but this argument is absurd. It is not at all difficult to imagine a rule set that permits free speech while still discriminating against LGBTQ employees in some other way.


We have secret ballots for a reason: what you do in public has consequences.

When you speak in public, it's possible that you will face censure from your employers, your employees, or your customers. You can't control how other people feel about what your actions.


Sure it's possible, and of course legal. But it behooves your employers, employees and customers to remember that we live in a civil society, and banishing the heretics rather than gracefully tolerating and persuading them is poisonous for that society.


No one is being banished or burned at the stake.

His suitability for a leadership position is openly questioned by employees in light of his publicly espoused views. Nothing more, nothing less.


> His suitability for a leadership position is openly questioned by employees in light of his publicly espoused views. Nothing more, nothing less.

No, it's more than that: people are actively calling him to step down.


Asking someone to step down is openly questioning their suitability for a leadership position. That is the general method.


Questioning their suitability is saying "I don't know if X is right for the job". Saying "X should step down" is answering that question.


Mozilla, much more than most is a political organisation (about freedom and openness) not just a commercial one. It has a mission, it will succeed with community support and goodwill. The political views of the CEO matter.

People are not saying (as far as I have heard) that there should be no place at Mozilla for Brendan Eich due to his political views but they are clearly uncomfortable with him leading a political organisation. A commitment and career somewhere does not entitle you to be CEO of the organisation if that is not what is best for the organisation.


> Mozilla, much more than most is a political organisation (about freedom and openness) not just a commercial one.

What about the freedom to have personal beliefs, and do what you want with your own money and time?

If anything the people criticizing Brendan Eich are trying to take away his freedom...


> If anything the people criticizing Brendan Eich are trying to take away his freedom...

Freedom of speech isn't freedom from criticism, and criticism isn't censorship. Freedom of speech isn't freedom from social consequences for speech. Freedom of speech isn't an unconditional guarantee of employment.

Sometimes, freedom of speech becomes distasteful. I don't feel like this is one of those times, but I can understand why someone might disagree. In this situation, I see one person exercising their freedom of speech (in the form of a campaign donation) and a group of people responding with their own speech. That seems fine to me; if you disagree, could you elaborate on why, or describe what you think these employees should do instead? It seems to me that people responding to Brendan Eich should not have less freedom of speech than him.


Trading freedoms for employment is quite normal (my speech was constrained while employed - mostly about my company and it's products) but anyway Eich used his freedom which he is welcome to. However, having done that and expressed his political views (money is speech etc.) it should not be surprising that his political views are relevant to his ability in a political leadership role. If he can't take the community with him he is the wrong man for that role.


No, they're not. Freedom has to do with what the government is allowed to punish you for. No one is saying he shouldn't have been allowed to donate money in support of Prop 8. But actions have consequences outside of what the government can do.


I wouldn't call it a witch hunt. Now every Mozilla employee's work is contributing to Eich's paycheck. The paycheck with which he will (has) donate(d) to oppose gay marriage. If I was a Mozilla employee, this is not something I would want to be contributing to.

This argument can obviously be applied to any employee in the company, but it's severely exacerbated when it's applied to the CEO, who's getting a huge paycheck and is serving as the face of the company. It would be nice if we could separate his work from his personal life, but that separation does not actually exist. His personal endeavors are fueled by his professional life. (This is why we all work, really).


"This argument can obviously be applied to any employee in the company, but it's severely exacerbated when it's applied to the CEO"

So, you're saying then, that they should go through the donations of every employee, ever, and fire anyone who donated to a cause that a sub-group of employees disagrees with?


I don't see it simply as disagreement. I draw the line at oppression. He's spending money earned, in part from any given employee's contribution to the company, to support the oppression of a group of people. It actually doesn't really matter if it's the CEO, this type of thing at any level in the company derails morale.

With this line drawn, it's not about going through and ratting out people who donate to stuff you don't like, and it's not about limit free speech. This is about supporting human rights, and more specifically to the private company, maintaining a workplace that is inclusive to everyone, and a vision for the company that everyone can get behind.

Yes, everyone has free speech and should be able to support whatever they want, but when you support oppression, I think it's completely fair that there is backlash and questioning of whether you should be part of, and benefitting from, a inclusive group. The employees have every right (freedom of speech, remember?) to voice opposition to you in your role, because it really does affect everyone in the company.


If you work for a private company, and look up the causes that your CEO contributes to, you might be surprised at what you find there, too.

I'm not saying Eich's contributions are irrelevant, just that he would hardly be the first CEO to hold political opinions many or all of the people who work with him find repugnant.

> it's severely exacerbated when it's applied to the CEO, who's getting a huge paycheck

I haven't looked at their financials, but I would have to assume that CEO of Mozilla is one of the less lavishly paid "CEO of a major tech organization" jobs. Nobody goes to work at Mozilla to get rich.


Liberals have power, feel the need to enforce their social order.

Is this supposed to amaze anyone ? You should see how bad this get in some parts of Europe, although that could just be me having more experience with it in that part of the world.

The problem liberals have is that while they're endemic in the rank and file of these companies, they're not exactly common at the top.


The problem is the liberals "enforcing their social order" with their power... by individually reacting to someone spending money to make sure the government resumes enforcing a particular social order? This is entirely a contest between a liberal desire to enforce social order A and a conservative desire to enforce social order B. There's a few who basically want government out of marriage all together, but that's a tiny minority in my experience and is made up of people from both sides of the left-right spectrum.


Except of course that conservatives are pretty much about that, while liberals' great claim is that they don't enforce any social order. They are about freedom, you can do anything you want, believe anything you want, want anything you want !

Here it's obvious that the exception is that this is predicated on you wanting exactly the same they want. The problem is the hypocrisy. The problem is that liberals constantly scream bloody murder if anyone uses the "but those guys do the same" defense.

The problem is that they enforce their own rules on others but not themselves. The problem is the blatant intolerance, the attempt to destroy a man's career because of his beliefs.


liberals' great claim is that they don't enforce any social order. They are about freedom, you can do anything you want, believe anything you want, want anything you want !

I think you are really confused, that's some anarchists and libertarians. Liberal democracy is about the idea of a social contract and trying to balance the greatest freedom for the greatest number, not limitless individual freedom. It has always been philosophically against limitless individual freedom as it considers that damaging.


If you don't see the problems with this, I'm not going to get dragged in.


It definitely is a witch hunt. What next? Are you going to fire any employee that goes on vacation to Russia, Turkey, or gasp Cuba? Or anyone that contributes to a charity you don't agree with?


There're any number of reasons why someone might visit those countries. When you put up $1K towards a political campaign whose raison d'etre is to deny gay people the right to marry, it's rather well defined what the expectation is.

I don't understand what charities have to do with this, though. Surely there are charities which would be morally objectionable. If he'd donated to a charity with similar aims to the Prop 8 campaign, I imagine it would change people's opinions rather little. Or how about a charity which campaigned against interracial marriage?


> There're any number of reasons why someone might visit those countries.

People were calling for a boycott of all things Russian, or did you forget that?

The irony of course being that Russia decriminalized same-sex relationships in 1993 long before the US, effectively, did the same in 2003 even though 14 states still ban sodomy.


And yet the US, EU, et al, still sent their Olympic teams to Sochi. I remember hearing something about how companies are usually pretty happy when people call for a boycott because it means it's a vocal minority and nothing organized.

I don't really see how this is relevant except for a tit-for-tat comparison b/w Russia and the US, which is kinda pointless.


Do you support employees being fired for supporting gay marriage then?

I don't see any difference in the two positions (both are using their paychecks to advanced a political cause), except that you personally agree with one position and not the other.


The difference is that only one of those positions in a boss is threatening. Take interracial marriage as a parallel. If you are in a mixed-race marriage and your boss has tried to prevent interracial marriage, you could reasonably feel threatened. Whereas if your boss supports equality, you won't worry whether you are in a same-race or mixed-race marriage.


If my boss paid money to a political cause against mix-marriages, but inside of work took no action to discriminate against people who were in mixed marriages, I'd think he was an asshat, and express such opinion, but not tie it to work any more than he was.

Of course, I don't need to feel threatened by people disagreeing with life choices I've made just because they don't like them, nor do I need to retaliate against people having different views. I can act like a professional at work while expressing my dissent in the marketplace of ideas.

I don't think Mozilla employees are wrong to say he's wrong on Twitter - I think they're wrong to link it to workplace politics sans any demonstration of him doing so.


Do you often tell your boss he's an asshat? If so, you should read the people commenting here that the Mozilla employees speaking out may be making career-limiting moves.

Regardless, it sounds like you haven't experienced significant workplace discrimination. Some people are prone to see discriminatory behavior as threatening because they have been threatened or harmed.


No one, as far as I'm aware, has pointed out examples of him behaving in a discriminatory manner - just that he holds a different view than them and engages in the political process.

I certainly agree that workplace discrimination is a problem, I just don't think that one necessitates the other, as people are claiming here.

> Do you often tell your boss he's an asshat? If so, you should read the people commenting here that the Mozilla employees speaking out may be making career-limiting moves.

I'd expect that the career limiting move is largely that they're linking their speaking out to how things should be at Mozilla, rather than distancing their speaking out from workplace politics.

But for the record, yes, I've told superiors, up to the CTO (while I was working in IT) that they're wrong on a number of social issues. I've also literally used the word "asshat" to describe people who hold opinions contrary to mine on those same issues on social media.

I just don't go out of my way to link it in to workplace politics, and haven't worked for people petty enough to punish their subordinates for having differing opinions.

If the Mozilla CEO is doing that, I'd be happy to see evidence of it. If the Mozilla CEO is discriminating at work because people are gay or support gay marriage, I'd like to see evidence of that. So far, all I see is people intentionally linking their dissent to workplace politics and people trying to punish him for having a view they don't like.

Feel free to cite evidence to prove me wrong.


I'm pretty sure that helping to remove a civil right from a group of people can be taken as discriminatory.

I agree that nobody has come forward with proof that he has done something wrong at Mozilla. Which is why he's still at Mozilla.

But I don't think "hasn't been caught being an egregious bigot at work" is the only bar a CEO of a major nonprofit needs to clear. And whether or not he stays on as CEO, I think it's entirely reasonable for some Mozilla employees to decide that they're better off elsewhere.


> I'm pretty sure that helping to remove a civil right from a group of people can be taken as discriminatory.

Sure, he holds views that some people should be discriminated against, and contributes to political causes advocating that. Lots of people hold those kind of views, and lots of people hold other objectionable views. My objection is to punishing him at work for that, and that alone.

I'm fine with Mozilla employees deciding that they're better off somewhere else, because they don't like their boss for any reason. That's their decision about who they associate with.

I think it's more of a problem when they decide he should be somewhere else because they don't like his opinions, or his political actions. I think that's discriminatory, and a large problem in a free society.


Gosh golly, what's it coming to when right straight white people can't discriminate against unpopular minority groups without facing consequences! It's as you say: minority groups should just quit if their boss might be discriminatory. That will surely end the problem of discrimination.


Threatened how?


Threatened with the sort of discrimination that minority groups often experience from people who have an irrational bias against them.


Sorry, when did those threats happen?


I said "reasonably feel threatened". You don't have to have someone directly threaten you to reasonably feel threatened.


OK, so what was the reasonable cause to feel threatened?


That your boss has helped strip you of your civil rights.


I wish I could give this post 10 upvotes. There is a reason that the US has employment laws [Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Section 703(a)(1) & (2)] related to discrimination -- and its to stop precisely these sorts of questions from ever being questions in the first place.


Where did all of this moral relativism come from?

What Eich believes goes against basic human rights. This isn't some argument about tax rates.


Which basic human right does his belief go against, exactly?

In all sincerity, if you had to write down a list of human rights, ordered by most-to-least basic, where would it fall on the list? Which rights would be more basic? Which less?


So marriage is a basic human right?

So the right to marry whomever you choose is universal, for everybody, no exceptions?

So why doesn't the campaign for "marriage equality" fight for the right of a brother and sister to get married, or a mother and her son?


I think free speech is a basic human right, too, but I wouldn't demand my CEO be fired if he gave a million dollars to try to get a Constitutional amendment passed to overturn Citizens United.


I'm sure there exists a political cause that if your CEO was funding it, would cause you to demand their resignation or make you leave the company.

Say they are funding a campaign calling for speech restrictions of a group of which you are a member, for instance. You presumably have a line somewhere.


You're positive about that? They could fund a campaign calling for speech restrictions for a group I'm a member of, and I'll probably feel peeved about it (or even stronger feelings), but so long as it doesn't affect the workplace, and the CEO is still doing their job, I wouldn't call for their resignation.


That's pretty lucky for them then, because you won't legally be able to after their bill goes through about speech in the workplace.

edit - that's a pretty unfair hypothetical, and it would be directly affecting your work then, but I still suspect you have a line, if only to avoid things ever getting a little bit too Kafka.


I suppose it's lucky for them, but I don't see removing them as CEO as an action helpful to the cause. It probably won't weaken their beliefs, and might even strengthen them. They might even want to retaliate against the group they see as booting them out.

I just don't think that stripping them of their lands and titles really helps anybody. Arguably they won't have a source of income, except that they probably would receive a fairly nice severance package, and could still look for more work elsewhere.

----

I really like your last line of "things ever getting a little bit too Kafka".


How much money (as a private citizen) has he spent on anti-gay causes?

How much money has he spent (as CEO) {i'm having trouble with wording here} keeping Mozilla a safe play for LGBTQ staff?


Yeah, wouldn't it be terrible if you were persecuted and had your career ruined because of your perceived feelings on marriage or political commentary/donations?

EDIT: Downvote away, but it's pretty obvious that these folks are abusing the freedom they have to attack somebody who deserves our respect and admiration, and are tarnishing the reputation of their cause.

This witch-hunt isn't helping anyone--it's saying that those involved care more about politics and sex and gender and bullshit than about creating good code and leading well and supporting freedom.


This isn't a witch hunt. Publicly professing your convictions has ramifications.

"these folks are abusing the freedom they have to attack somebody..." What abuse? These people are exercising their freedom. Their freedom of speech, their freedom of association. There is no abuse here, this is exactly what people have a right to do.

"politics and sex and gender and bullshit..." There is more to life than technical ability.


"What abuse?"

-> Demanding that he resign and step down and/or pressuring people to force him to resign? If that comes to pass, that he is forced out of his position against his will, then that isn't free speech at work, it's tyranny of the majority. He will have been effectively fired for his religious beliefs.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Section 703(a)(1) and (2)

"(a) Employer practices

It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer -

(1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; or

(2) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin."

What the hell else do you (rhetorical you) need? Why is anyone suggesting that he should be forced out of his position and that he "should have known that there would be ramifications". Perhaps a shitstorm, but never unemployment. This violates the law.

http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/titlevii.cfm


Employees are not employers so I don't see how this a violation of Title VII since nothing of the nature has come to pass. I can demand anything I want this does not constitute abuse of any sort.


I agree it does not if you do.

It would be if Mozilla Corp (an employer) fired him or told him he must resign, hence the part "pressuring people to force him to resign". You can demand and complain all you want, but until management responds to that opinion with a loss of employment, no it is not abuse, and I would agree. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.


He didn't "profess" anything--there was a note in a public ledger saying "so and so donated thus and such to this cause".

That's a far cry from hopping up on a podium and decrying the evils of the homosexual agenda. Had a muckrake not come across it, nobody would've known, and fewer still would've cared.


> The fact that they can come out and say this demonstrates that these employees, the people best able to assess this, don't believe that Eich will retaliate. That Mozilla is and remains a place where any employee can express their views on political issues, even if they know they're contrary to the CEO's. And that destroys any argument for Eich's role as CEO creating a conflict with Mozilla's ability to welcome LGBTQ employees and community members.

Or these employees have consciously chosen that they'd rather the knife come, if it's going to come, sooner than later.


Definitely. Or that it's better to stand together than to fall separately. Or that during this moment of transition they're mostly likely to win out. Or that they want to be on record so that if something does happen, they'll have better material for a press push or a lawsuit. Or that they figure they might as well give fixing things a try before they leave Mozilla. Or a bunch of other things.

The notion that them speaking out now proves that they have nothing to worry about is ridiculous. If nobody had spoken out, that would also have been used as proof that everything is fine.


Have these employees been harmed in any way? Has Brendan Eich ever even been accused of mistreating another Mozillian because of his views on this issue?

In short, are they speaking out against real offenses, or merely hypothetical ones?


These are employees who are dogmatic and who may have mistakenly believed they were working for a political organization rather than a technology company.

If Brendan Eich being CEO means they are not able to perform their duties as stipulated in their employment contract, they should resign.


He has already worked against their civil rights. They can choose to overlook that if they want, but fear of mistreatment is real and justifiable.


Or maybe these employees have cynically protected themselves from layoffs... because they could claim the CEO targeted them due to a difference in opinion!


> The fact that they can come out and say this demonstrates that these employees, the people best able to assess this, don't believe that Eich will retaliate.

Or they're willing to risk speaking out, regardless.


Exactly right, until he demonstrates an inability to bracket his personal affairs from his professional life (which he hasn't done) we as a enlightened pluralistic society should assume good faith and accept that he rose to this position based on his merit and contributions to the company and is probably a great candidate for the position.


"when there is no documented instance of him ever disparaging or otherwise harming LGBTQ employees or community members."

Other than financially supporting and lobbying for the passage of Proposition 8, you mean?


There is a documented instance of him supporting treating gay people, including Mozilla employees, as second class humans.

You expect employees to keep working for a CEO who doesn't consider them equal human beings?

Why do people keep pretending this is a valid political view? This is about vicious hatred, and if he can keep that under control I admire his discipline, but no employee should have to work under that threat.


>> You expect employees to keep working for a CEO who doesn't consider them equal human beings?

Not to be cheeky, but in my experience, many CEOs don't consider their workers to be equal beings (and I find this to be more true with very large organizations), and it has less to do with demographics/politics/religion than it does with the status that comes with the position of power.

--edited a word for clarity


Just the CEO? Who else shall we burn at the stake? Mary, the office manager, goes to church every Sunday. How did she vote? John over in mobile dev is a devout Muslim, I'll bet he doesn't take kindly to such things as gay marriage. Time to start scanning through those campaign contribution records for Prop 8 and seeing if a JOIN on the employee database gives us any results.

I've always held to the idea that my job is to make my manager look good. I don't know that mouthing off on twitter such that Ars Technica picks it up is fitting to that philosophy.


Thank you for posting this.

It's insane that there's this witch-hunt over someone's personal views, and the fact that this outlandish behaviour is actually supported and applauded by people.

If anything this just gives more credence to the 'gay agenda' conspiracies that up until fairly recently no one took seriously...


Because equal marriage is really, really important. When gay people are not accepted in society opposing something that would improve that greatly is a bad thing to do


Marriage equality is important, but a society in which we're able to go to work, do ours jobs and bracket our concerns about the personal lives of our coworkers and bosses is more important than any immediate social issue in the present. It's the foundational principle of living in a pluralistic society.


Why?

Marriage has always been about community and religion, in many countries people never bother registering it with the government. In some countries like Canada, common-law partners get the same benefits as married partners.

Personally, I'd be all for doing away with the entire government institution of marriage, and simply have 'civil unions' for all, with each community and religion being able to decide for themselves what 'marriage' means.


> Marriage has always been about community and religion, in many countries people never bother registering it with the government.

At least in Europe, that's pretty much backwards -- marriage has always been about property, and, it was fairly late that the Church even got involved at all, and the Church getting deeply involved in governing marriage was largely a trend that happened as the Church deepened its involvement in government more generally.


Yes I forgot. For some cultures in some time periods women were property that was traded from father to husband, in exchange for goods, and marriage was the contract that finalized the transfer of property. Especially for the higher classes that had a significant amount of property.

In some religions at least marriage signified a bond between two people, and not merely a transfer of property. My views are shaped somewhat by the fact that in Orthodox Christianity (the type I'm most familiar with), marriage isn't a transfer of property, and the bride isn't 'given' from father to husband. It's an equal arrangement. Whereas in Islam and 'western' Christianity the bride is 'given', much like property.


> For some cultures in some time periods women were property that was traded from father to husband, in exchange for goods, and marriage was the contract that finalized the transfer of property.

I wasn't talking about women as property, though that's also a factor in some cases (which undermines the whole "traditional marriage" as a good thing argument.) I was talking about marriage being about property arrangements, not the parties being property.


It hasn't always been about religion, possibly community though.

Doing away with government marriages if it was for everyone. At the moment it is important because it has tax benefits and not having it equal makes gay people seem like second class citizens.


in other words, witch-hunt is ok if you support the cause?


Not if I support the cause but if the cause is right.

This is also not a witch-hunt. I honestly cannot believe that people are so apathetic about equality


Silly you for thinking there was an agenda.

In the UK, the Labour (political party) Gay Rights Manifesto of 1985 said,

"A socialist society would supersede the family household... Gay people and children should have the right to live together... It follows from what we have already said that we favour the abolition of the age of consent."


No, it really doesn't.

There are sensible people on this thread trying to argue that Brendan Eich shouldn't be forced to resign because of his private political views, and there are idiots like you using words like 'witch-hunt' and talking about the 'gay agenda' (what, you think they have a committee somewhere drawing up a hit-list?). I sincerely doubt that you are trying constructively to help here.


There's a huge difference between holding general religious beliefs and contributing financially to a political movement specifically pursuing institutional discrimination of a large class of Americans.

I'm a little troubled by the chilling effects that career and public opinion can have on political expression, but it's hard to generate sympathy for blatantly unconstitutional, horrendously discriminatory forms of political expression.


You're wrong on two points:

a) Contributing financially to many religious institutions is explicitly financing groups who opposed gay marriage, and is an activity than many religious people undertake.

b) Advocating for something that in some views is unconstitutional is a constitutionally protected activity. The practice itself may be unconstitutional (I certainly think so), however, the political advocacy itself is not.


a) When you fund "mormonism" or whatever, there is a lot of plausible deniability that you're not a bigot, as this is a huge population of people doing a mix of things, mostly good. In contrast, when you specifically fund Prop 8, you need a really good excuse.

b) Advocating for something that is purely prejudicial and hateful is deserving of censure.

As I said, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about holding people accountable for their political views in general, but I do have some rationale for leaning toward censure in this particular case.


Yes, the solution to all the ills of the world is to censor people who (society|the majority|intortus) decides are purely "prejudicial and hateful", because that will clearly make politics better and less oppressive!

I don't even agree with these people, but people who express views like yours - that we should censor views we find distasteful so they can't even be discussed openly - make it really hard to comfortably take a stand against them.

I'm not for censorship, even of views I find extremely distasteful, and don't advocating punishing people merely for holding or articulating them.

Is there any evidence he's done anything besides be part of the political process, such as discriminate in the running of the nonprofit?

*Edit to fix typo.


The Catholic Church works very hard to supress gay marriage everywhere in the world, and has done a lot more harm to our society than Prop 8 ever would have. The Catholic Church is supported by tithes from their members, which are generally required.

By this same logic, should they not be arguing for the firing of every Catholic employee, who ostensibly spend 10% of their income received from the company to the same end?


1. The Roman Catholic Church does not require tithes from its members. I'm not sure any part of it ever has.

2. No one is saying that every employee who does as Eich did should be fired. Some people are saying that someone who has done as Eich did shouldn't be CEO of Mozilla.


So, a Catholic who actively tithes, should not be allowed to be CEO of Mozilla? What about a Lutheran that actively tithes? Both of these organizations work directly to prevent gay marriage, and that money goes to amplifying that cause.


The ELCA doesn't actively attempt to prevent gay marriage. They permit ordination of gays an lesbians, the NALC (a group that split from the ELCA specifically over this issue) and the LCMS (which split earlier) don't.

What I'm saying is that not all Lutheran denominations work directly to prevent gay marriage.


It's plausibly deniable that you're contributing tithes specifically to take rights away from gays. It's hard to deny that if you're contributing to Prop 8.


I would make the argument that contributing the Catholic church is far worse for homosexuals, children, women, and the planet than Prop 8 ever could be. But then again, that's why I don't go around making check lists of appropriate contributions for everyone in my company around me...


> There's a huge difference between holding general religious beliefs and contributing financially...

So, you can believe whatever you want, as long as you don't act on your beliefs?

> ... to a political movement specifically pursuing institutional discrimination of a large class of Americans.

Prop 8 was proposed by the voters of California, it would not have had direct ramifications on the rest of the US.

> ... blatantly unconstitutional...

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/27/us/politics/supreme-court-...

The last big ruling by the SCOTUS on gay marriage came down to a 5-4 vote. The supreme court justices are not amateurs at enforcing the US Constitution. That it was 5-4 is a good sign that the issue is hard to argue one way or the other from the constitution.

EDIT: typo


Government benefits should only be tied to civil unions. The government should get the hell out of marriage and couples can determine if they want to consider themselves married.

I would never say that changing the definition of marriage is blatantly unconstitutional. The constitution says nothing about the right of two people of the same sex getting married nor does it say anything about traditional marriage. You could argue equal protection under the law, but as it stands a heterosexual man and a homosexual are both legally not permitted to marry a man. Blatantly is absolutely the wrong word to use.

Also, your insinuation that religious people should not use their deeply held beliefs to influence the societies in which they live is disturbing. You have a vote and they have a vote.


Philosophically what's the difference between financially supporting a political cause and voting for leaders which support that cause?


The intent behind a financial contribution (or any other sort of contribution to a campaign) is to amplify one's vote by getting others to join in.

What makes this case so interesting is that the campaign in question is so specifically wrong. If it were for a candidate or party who has some questionable views, I'd feel inappropriate holding it against someone, but I'm not aware of any saving graces for Prop 8.


The comparison between the CEO (and therefore the public face) of a non-profit organization and Mary the office manager is so absurd it's ridiculous. When your actions impact more people, you get put under a harsher spotlight. I'm not sure why that's a difficult concept to grasp.


Yes, Mary the office manager, she claims to be a Christian but I've always suspected her of being a witch. Burn her! Drown her! Do both!

But whatever you do, don't go near John, because I hear he gets upset over cartoons and he might react violently rather than meekly accepting punishment like a good Christian.

If you're sick of the political correctness and need a good laugh, watch this short piece by British aethist comedian Pat Condell, 'How gay is Islam?'

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLbltj-tD1Y


Why is it that for some people political correctness - something which tries to make people respect one another more and be nice - is the devil.

You have the right to say almost whatever you want. That doesn't mean you fucking should, does it? There's a big difference between the two


Because for some people political correctness is about lying to make others feel good.


Well when the thing they are lying about is a view which is harmful then I see no problem.


You've heard of the chilling effect, right? I would say insisting on being politically correct in all things or you're not fit to run a company would qualify as censorship.


Mary and John aren't the CEO. There was disappointment over Brendan Eich's position on gay marriage when he was CTO, but I don't think anyone was calling for him to resign, and even now I'm not sure anyone is calling for Eich to leave Mozilla. CEO is the ultimate leadership role, and if you are gay or have gay friends, having someone in that role who does not believe in gay marriage hurts.


Should I be able to quit my job if I don't like my boss's politics? Yes (though your boss should never be able to force you to quit, and should never be able to use their position and authority to make you feel that you have no choice).

Should I be able to ask my boss to quit if I don't like his politics? Yes (though you should not expect him to agree to this).

Is it a good thing for the world in general if people are asked to quit their jobs because of their politics? My instinctive reaction is that it isn't a good idea, because we can't know what political views will be popular or unpopular in the future (in other words, it could be your opinions that make you the object of some campaign in the future). I can't defend Eich's opinions, but the principle that "you are not your job" and that what you do outside of the job should remain outside is something that should protect everyone and I'd require some pretty strong arguments to convince me otherwise.

We should remember, however, that plenty of people don't have Eich's profile or history of positive contributions (he was contributing to what became Mozilla before Mozilla even existed). Political firings do happen, and people do get fired for stuff that they might reasonably expect should be part of their private sphere, and only sometimes does this result in a court case or compensation being paid. Anyone who defends Eich's right to his political views should remember that, the next time a colleague or acquaintance is on the wrong side of an inappropriate dismissal.

edit: typos


It's his personal view. What does freedom mean if it's only about views that everyone likes?


In my opinion, appointing someone as CEO can not be base purely on professional performance. The CEO position is too public to ignore personal actions. Eich is of course allowed to have his own opinion on issues, such as gay marriage. But now being CEO of Mozilla, Mozilla has to ask themselves if his personal views are in line with the views/mission of Mozilla as a company.

The freedom to have your own opinion on things does not protect you from the consequences of those opinions.


>> The freedom to have your own opinion on things does not protect you from the consequences of those opinions.

Yes. In the same vein, people publicly calling out their employers in social media (even when justified) should also realize that it's a potentially career limiting move.

I'm pretty sure there's a significant number of companies and HR managers who would be reluctant to hire people who have engaged in this type of communication in the past.


His personal view is that a subset of humans do not deserve equal rights afforded to everyone else. It's not that he votes for a different party, that's not a problem. It's that he actively wants to deny rights to certain people, some of whom are under his employ.

I wouldn't want a member of the KKK running my organization either, and I would imagine most minorities would speak out about that as well. Racist or anti-gay, a bigot is a bigot. This isn't about politics or personal views. It's about denying human beings their deserved civil liberties for no good reason at all. Would you want to work for someone who hates you enough to force a law to break apart your family?


If you deny him his job for this act, donating money to a legitimate political campaign, you're denying him his rights. He has the right to his opinion and to voice that opinion.


No one has a right to hold any particular job, especially not one as public facing as CEO. You may have the right to work, but you don't have the right to work in one specific job at one specific company.


Of course you do. You can't legally be fired for saying, "I am a member of the Republican Party." Your political views (and that's what, in the end, this is) are protected, not when they are shared by everyone, but specifically when they are not.

Listen, I get where you're coming from. This is an important issue for me too. (As an aside: I have spent an inordinate amount of time working with one of the world's largest human rights organizations, including time on the board of directors for one of its structures.) I like and appreciate your passion to fight the good fight.

But! Be careful when you reach into your toolbag to fight that fight. The ends never justify the means. If we violate one person's rights by trying to protect another person's rights, we'll descend into chaos.

Always be respectful that in 7+ billion people, we're going to have a lot of opinions.

We must stop behaviors that are directly harmful. But we must always also protect people's opinions.

They're important. You have the freedom to believe whatever you want to believe. The minute that opinion crosses into a behavior -- boom! You can drop the ax. People have the right to any opinion but not any behavior. Do you see? If Brendan wants to donate money to a bill that would do x, he can. If he punishes an employee because they're x, that's wrong. (And you cannot jump in and say, "He will have a behavior because of his opinion.")

The way to handle this is to respect his opinion and be on guard that no behavior follows from it. Period. Put that important passion instead into educating and enlightening the populace. Put it into doing positive work.

Forcing Brendan to step down because he donated money to a legitimate political proposition is witch-hunting and shameful. This issue deserves better than that.


Freedom of speech is not freedom from consequence. He is free to express his opinions of gay people. They are free to express their opinions of him. See how that works? Everybody's free to say their piece.

Of course, the problem here isn't his view, which nobody actually knows. It's that he helped strip a civil right from a bunch of people, including some of those he will now be in charge of.


>> He is free to express his opinions of gay people.

Context matters though. If you make these opinions at the workplace and someone feels threatened, discriminated against or harassed, there are legal repercussions.

And I assume this goes both ways. If you have an unpopular view that is expressed outside the workplace but are harassed by your coworkers, there is a risk of legal repercussions on those coworkers too.


Context matters some. But it's not like people's opinions reverse when they walk into the office.

If he is biased against gays, a concern raised by helping fund the removal of one of their civil rights, people can be reasonably afraid that this will eventually affect them in the workplace.

It need not be something obvious, either. Most decisions made by CEOs, especially decisions on who to reward and promote, are almost entirely judgment calls. Do you want to work for a guy who might not treat you fairly? "Yes" and "no" are both reasonable answers.


Just to clarify, by context, I was referring to how free he is to express his opinions. Outside of the workplace, he can say whatever he wants short of what the law allows.

In the workplace, anti-discrimination and harassment laws do not make him free to express his opinions.

>> If he is biased against gays, a concern raised by helping fund the removal of one of their civil rights, people can be reasonably afraid that this will eventually affect them in the workplace.

I would think this concern would be true of any manager who has a fundamentalist interpretation of a particular religion too.


Interesting. I hadn't considered whether anti-discrimination laws would constrain him from expressing his political opinions at work.


Because the line about private activities staying private doesn't apply to conservatives for some reason.


After a public figure speaks in public about those views, they become much less "personal."


Yeah, and the employee's view is that he's not fit for CEO. I'm sick of this line of thought that he can have his views but nobody else can. Especially because if it were a different issue than gay marriage nobody would be saying that.


How far does it go? Would you say the same about a nazi or KKK member?


The Chicago police protected neo-nazis when they marched in Skokie--at a time when there were residents there who still had tattoos from the camps.

So, yeah, we should strive to protect freedom of speech and be tolerant, even when people are shitbags.


Yes, I would expect the government to protect his right to free speech and political opinion. However, that doesn't mean anyone has to respect his opinions, much like neo-nazis don't garner much respect in public opinion (but the police will work to protect their safety when expressing their opinion).


Freedom of speech is for both sides, for CEOs who are anti-gay and for any employee who ask him to leave for being so.


Godwin's Law in 16 minutes. Not bad.


That's not a Godwin. Nazis were/are well known to promote hate based on differences between people and promote laws to keep certain groups oppressed. It's a perfectly valid comparison.


It did sound like a comparision, my bad.


Saying "Godwin's Law" is not an argument, FFS


I have a huge level of mental conflict on this issue!

I am a supporter of equal rights and gay marriage. When I see comparisons made to other civil rights issues (i.e. "Would we accept this guy as CEO if he thought interracial marriage was wrong?" or "Would we accept this guy as CEO if he thought women deserved less pay?") it seems like a no brainer to me that, no, a person who held those views would never be tolerated as a CEO. And gay marriage, gay rights are an important issue and should be held in the same regard. Using that logic, one could conclude he is not CEO material. Not to mention that as a representative of the company they are getting some unpleasant press over this, nor does he seem to have the confidence of his employees that a leader should have.

On the other hand, it seems distasteful to me that we say to people, "We don't like your views. You need to go away now." ... Shouldn't diversity of thought, diversity of social and cultural and religious views be considered a good thing in an organization? Shouldn't we be trying to build teams of people with whom we aren't always going to agree on things with?


[deleted]


Punishing someone for their beliefs is never a good move.


This is in a perverse way a Great test for Mozilla's stated commitment to inclusiveness. Will they buckle under this pressure to have one of their Employees (CEO) leave because of a Personal Stated opinion, (Barring any evidence to the contrary) solely because of persecution for those views?

Watching this with great interest - how will it play out? Will Brendan Succumb to the pressure and quit to avoid this issue becoming a distraction?

Will he ride it out? Provide clear guidance that it was a personal issue and emphasize personally that this does not reflect Mozilla policy? Something else..?


Some very strange reactions in this thread. The idea that this somehow validates the notion that Eich's politics don't affect Mozilla as a workplace seems particularly bizarre, to me.

My read on this is that there are employees at Mozilla who feel strongly enough about this to speak publicly, and the most likely reason is because they believe that Eich as CEO will affect their workplace.


He's been CTO since 2005. Now his views will suddenly begin to "affect their workplace"?


CTO is a technical role. CEO is boss of everybody, and organizational figurehead. So yeah, it's very different.


I asserted nothing of the sort.


I haven't followed that particular drama, are they asking him to step down solely because of his anti-gay activism? Or are there other reasons as well?

Assuming it's the former and as long as he's not pushing his agenda through Mozilla (discriminating against gay employees or whatnot) I'm not sure it's a good reason to "fire" a CEO.


Does making a one time donation to a political organisation really constitute "anti gay activism"?


When the political organization in question exists solely to promote anti-gay laws, then yes. Yes it does.


As far as I can tell, this is about the $1000 donation in 2008.


>"McAvoy added that he feels fortunate to work at a company >like Mozilla, 'where I can say that without fear of >retribution.'"

May only be true because of how many eyes are on this. Regardless on how enlightened a company is I don't think you'll have a good time of things for very long if you're calling out your boss to quit his job.


How can "@mozilla stands for openness" if you restrict who can run the company?


So you'd be ok if he was a racist? Brendan is entitled to express his views, but it doesn't mean they come without consequences.


By that logic, I'm sure no one working at Mozilla voted for Barack Obama in 2008 when he publicly held a position you now consider in the same ethical category as that a "racist" would hold.

This is not so far removed from saying Mary Jones shouldn't be CEO of Mozilla because she donated to a campaign against CO2 emission restrictions: Again by analogy with a settled political issue, "She's denying Global Warming. You'd be OK if she denied the Holocaust?"


Sometimes you have to vote for the lesser evil. It's pragmatism. Choose between the person who will try and stop gay marriage from happening by enshrining it in law or the person who won't actively stop it (or someone who has no chance of getting in). Seems quite obvious.


So you'd vote for a Barack Obama who professed support for racial segregation as long as the other major party candidate did, too?

I'm not arguing against voting pragmatically, I'm arguing that calling opposition to same sex marriage akin to racism today is a nonsensical comparison. Maybe it will look that way in hindsight, but it's not fair to hold anybody to hypothetical future standards.


If open source is about ideological purity tests than no one can contribute.


To expand on that, I think a lot of people confuse the Free Software movement with a movement for "ideological purity". No, it isn't about having the most social justice points, it's about creating and sharing free software, anything else is irrelevant. Even if you're a convicted murderer (ReiserFS), although you can't really commit code from prison.

Of course we want to encourage as many people as possible to contribute and therefore anything that pushes large groups of people away (for no good reason) is bad.


Do you really think this way?


This is a bad idea. Your personal views - religious, political, whatever - should have nothing to do with your job as long as you don't bring them to work. If it is acceptable to demote or fire someone because of their political views or activity outside of work, we are opening a huge can of worms. I hope everyone can understand this.


In general I agree with your theory. But I think it's different when you want to be the figurehead and ultimate authority over thousands of people. Especially you've helped to strip civil rights from some of those people.


This is exactly the same as asking a person to resign because they're gay. Personal politics do not belong in the workplace, and shame on anyone who would take away someone's position because of who they are or what they support in their private life.


If Eich had given 1000 bucks to stopping the abilities of lets say hispanics to marry. He would have never been allowed to be CEO; because we do not accept that type of bigotry. Sadly however bigotry against LGBTQ is still allowed.

For me it is clear and simple. He can not say he will be inclusive if he at a low level doesn't believe in it. In his blog post he only apologized he hurt anyone.. not that his views are outdated, and has changed his mind on the topic.


CEO is inherently a political role - a CEO is the face of the company. If the CEOs political views are at odds with most of the employees of the company as well as the company's product's userbase, it's hardly surprising that there would be a movement to get him out. He's the face of the company. If that face is ugly / mean, then he's probably the wrong choice for CEO.


For those of you defending Eich, what if he monetarily supported white supermacy instead? Would you still feel comfortable about his position?


In my personal life no I would find it reprehensible, but in my professional life that would depend. If an employee wants to go burn crosses on the weekend with the KKK but comes into work every Monday, and keeps his personal life separate and still continues generate revenue for the company then that's their business and not my concern.


Those who demand tolerance for themselves should also extend it to others...


Is it legal for Mozilla to fire Eich because of his political affiliations? Is it legal to ask a prospective CEO hire his or her political views? What I found from a quick search indicates that it isn't legal. [1] I can kind of understand how a member of the LGBT community could be disappointed by Eich's promotion, but I don't understand what they think Mozilla could have legally done differently.

[1] http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/california-employment...


If these are the kind of people working at Mozilla it's no surprise Firefox has been continuously losing market share to both Chrome and IE over the past 3 years.


I don't think one person criticising another is going to cause a massive drop in market share.

You really are being a little silly


Did you read my entire comment? Notice how I said "over the past 3 years".


I did. Perhaps I should have phrased my reply a bit better:

People who criticise another person for an act which is contentious is not going to produce a drop in market share.

Perhaps even this is not obvious enough for you. You're probably being deliberate obtuse though. The simple point is that you can't infer a technical ability from their belief on whether gay marriage is right or not.

In addition, even if these people were proven to be bad at their jobs, I doubt that would cause the drop in market share either. Three people who are not at the very top of the company are unlikely to have that effect.


I wonder how history would have remembered Eich if he never got CEO.

The thought has not fully crystallized, and possibly not quite the same, but Nikola Tesla was a Eugenisist. But we LOVE him.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikola_Tesla#Societal_views


When you consider how quickly opinions have shifted on this issue. Prop 8 was relatively a long time ago.


He was asked in 2012(?) if he still held those views. He declined to answer.


So the LGBTQ community wants to dictate that the Mozilla CEO be a gay marriage supporter. They also seem to have trouble separating software from politics.


Intolerant! As someone put it, toleration is not toleration unless you put up with that with which you will not put.


What you hate in yourself you hate in others, and it really shows with this.


Huh. Wasn't exactly expecting that.




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