Last week, OkCupid made a big stink about former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich’s $1000 donation to Prop 8 in 2008. When Firefox users logged onto the popular dating website, they received the following message:
“We’ve devoted the last ten years to bringing people—all people—together. If individuals like Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8% of the relationships we’ve worked so hard to bring about would be illegal.”
The message then called for Firefox users to consider switching to a different web browser.
It didn’t take long for the company’s PR stunt to go viral. Then after Eich stepped down from his job, OkCupid released a statement saying, “We are pleased that OkCupid’s boycott has brought tremendous awareness to the critical matter of equal rights for all individuals and partnerships.”
And that’s when things got awkward.
Mother Jones went digging. The magazine learned from the website Uncrunched that OkCupid’s CEO Sam Yagan (who is also the CEO of Match.com) has his own ugly history of donating to antigay political candidates.
In 2004, Yagan gave $500 to antigay candidate Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah). Cannon served in Congress from 1994 to 2009. During that time, he voted for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, against a ban on sexual-orientation based job discrimination, and to prohibit gay adoptions.
Yagan is pleading ignorance. This morning he released a statement that read, in part:
A decade ago, I made a contribution to Representative Chris Cannon because he was the ranking Republican on the House subcommittee that oversaw the Internet and Intellectual Property, matters important to my business and our industry. I accept responsibility for not knowing where he stood on gay rights in particular.
He then went on to try and downplay his donation by saying:
[A] contribution made to a candidate with views on hundreds of issues has no equivalence to a contribution supporting Prop 8, a single issue that has no purpose other than to affirmatively prohibit gay marriage.
He also said he fully supports marriage equality and that he “would not make that contribution again today.”
What do you think? Was it an honest mistake? Or should Yagan be held accountable for his donation?