Firefox CEO’s Antigay Donation Leads To Boycott

Brendan EichIsn’t it weird that Prop 8 boycotts are still happening? As we approach the six year anniversary (!) of the law’s passage, its supporters continue to earn scorn from those around them.

The latest kerfuffle surrounds Firefox and the Mozilla Foundation, which makes the browser. Brendan Eich was just named the foundation’s CEO, which would be fine and dandy except that he donated $1,000 to support Prop 8 back in 2008. Eich is an important nerd: he invented JavaScript, and he helped start the organization that became Mozilla. It makes sense that he’d become CEO, but his anti-gay history isn’t sitting well with the developer community.

This isn’t the first time his donation has come to light. Back in 2012, someone discovered Eich’s name on the donor rolls, and the internet expressed widespread disapproval. Then the furor died down, and everyone forgot for a little while. Eich never really addressed the donation.

But now it’s back on the radar, thanks to software developers Hampton Catlin and his husband Michael. They had to endure a grueling immigration process because they were unable to get married. And they couldn’t start their company together until recently, because Michael’s visa wouldn’t allow it. This is a perfect example of how people like Brendan Eich stifled innovation by supporting Prop 8.

Now the couple is finally wed and can move ahead with their new software company, but they won’t be supporting Firefox. As of this week, they’ve removed their apps from the Firefox Marketplace.

No word from Eich yet about the fuss. Given his silence the last time this was an issue, we’re not holding our breath for any kind of statement. It’s just a huge bummer to know that the guy running an otherwise great organization thinks that gay and lesbian couples are inferior to straight ones.


A Mozilla spokesperson contacted Frontiers magazine with the following statement regarding the hiring of Eich:

Mozilla has always been deeply committed to honoring diversity in sexual orientation and beliefs within our staff and community, across all the project’s activities. One concrete example of this is in our health benefit policies. Mozilla provides the same level of benefits and advantages to domestic partners as we do to married couples across the United States, even in states where it is not mandated. For those who choose life insurance, voluntary spouse coverage extends to domestic partners, including same-sex couples. With thousands of people spanning many countries and cultures, diversity is core to who we are, and we’re united in our mission to keep the Web open and accessible for everyone.