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.

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  • Cam

    Mozilla/Firefox hired him AFTER it was known he supported Prop 8. They must agree with that, so fuck them.

    It’s IE, Google Chrome, or Safari. Removing Firefox from my computer.

  • Shannon1981

    Uninstalling Firefox now. Been using Chrome anyway, it isn’t like I need it.

  • vive

    I want to remove it, but which other browsers have a Flashblock add-on and allows you to get rid of the pesky tab bar?

  • stvrsnbrgr

    @Cam: Ditto.

  • callenstewart

    Well, crap.


  • sangsue


    Chrome and Opera and I think Safari.

  • Desert Boy

    This little dweeb donated $$$ for Prop 8? Well, time to switch browsers and go back to Explorer.

  • SteveDenver

    Mozilla has a nice track record and then they hire this jackass? That’s called “going off the rails.”

  • WhyteRabbit

    eh. i wish i could uninstall in protest… but since i switched to chrome years ago anyway…

  • Merv

    Chrome and IE have been my browsers of choice for a while, so no change for me. It’s still hard to believe that his backward thinking persists in that culture. If you read between the lines in his blog post, he still feels the same way.

  • BrokebackBob

    From a gay IT master geek:

    IE sucks and is a mess internally, and it’s slowest of all.

    Chrome is fast and sends info about where you browse and what you do
    filling out forms back to the Mothership Google without you knowing.

    Safari is optimized for Apple, always has been so it tries not to use the software development toolkit Windows provides if it can possibly help it. If you love Safari, get an Apple.

    Firefox is an excellent browser, it has little to do directly with the new homophobe ruler of Mozilla Foundation. Limiting my experience browsing by switching to inferior software because some pudgy geek hates gays and possibly himself, is not a good enough excuse for me ripping Firefox off my system.

  • vive

    @sangsue, with Chrome you can’t get rid of the pesky tab bar even if you don’t browse with tabs (that’s what windows were invented for) and that drives me up the wall. And I don’t think it has an analogue of Flashblock, which is important on my old slow computer.

    And Safari, never, I’ll never support anything done by Apple, given their f*scist business practices.

  • Cam


    No Bob, what you are actually doing is helping to fund somebody who donates money to fight against your civil rights.

    If there were two ice-cream stores in your town and one of them donates money to pass laws saying women can’t vote or own property but you like their vanilla a little better would you go there?

  • Black Pegasus

    He already looks like a pedophile. I guess we can add bigot to his profile as well.

  • samwise343

    Unfortunately, Firefox works best on my computer. IE and Chrome suck. Besides, the CEO’s eyes would bug out if he ever saw my browser history.

  • showertile

    Let’s compare this story to Hobby Lobby. The owners think the company should get a religious exemption for providing contraception to it’s employees. The prevailing anti-Hobby Lobby argument is that a company doesn’t hold the religious beliefs of it’s owners. Mozilla has said that they have long provided equal benefits for same-sex couples and that’s not going to change. The company is not homophobic. If Firefox is your browser of choice stick with it (or switch to Chrome, cause it’s better :-). BTW, Barilla CEO flat out told us to buy another brand of pasta and Chik-Fil-A gave money out of it’s own coffers to fun anti-us campaigns. We’ve got to be reasonable with Mozilla.

  • Cam


    So then if Mozilla had hired somebody who was outspoken that interracial marriage should be illegal and blacks shouldn’t have the right to vote, and that they hired them after those opinions were known, that it shouldn’t matter? That is ridiculous.

    This guy is the new CEO and can influence policies and directions within the company. Remember, it was the CEO of Target who directed all that money to the Anti-gay groups, not the board, not anybody else.

  • showertile

    @Cam: Your hypothetical is not applicable. Prop 8 wasn’t going to end voting rights for gay folks. He also hasn’t funneled any corporate funds towards anti-us causes. Nor is he going to rescind the same sex benefits of Mozilla employees. He made a donation six years ago.

  • Cam


    Actually it is perfectly appropriate. You were claiming that Mozilla is not an anti-gay company. I pointed out that this man’s anti-gay sympathies are public, and he advocated for a law that stripped gays of their rights. I then postulated a situation where they may hire somebody else who believed in stripping away OTHER rights.

    Additionally, as CEO he has the power to alter Mozilla policies.

    My post was dead on. You seem to have a vested interest in defending this guy and Mozilla. Why is that?

  • vive

    @showertile, what if they hired an outspoken rac*st? This is the same.

  • showertile

    @Cam: Correct, Mozilla is not an anti-gay company. What if this guy wanted to rip apart the 2nd amendment? Some people would really get pissed off about that, claim that Mozilla is an evil company, and stage a boycott…would it be just? See? See how lame that argument was? Hypotheticals are not appropriate because they’re a weak form of argument. I don’t understand this militant reaction to someone making a donation six years ago. You can boycott whatever you want. I already boycott Mozilla because I think they have an inferior product. But using a relatively small infraction to vilify an entire company doesn’t make our cause any stronger.

    Also, I love that you try to conflate my interest in moderating the discourse to defending him. I just don’t want gay folks to be seen as pissy and so easily offended. We should be stronger than that. We need to pick our battles.

  • Cam


    No, what it is is that you have a desperation to try to defend this. You aren’t providing a rational explanation. You just say, Oh gee willivers, hypothetical aren’t appropriate because they are a weak form of argument.

    So what you are saying is…these aren’t good because….they aren’t good. THAT is a weak argument.

    I provided a comparison that was apt. You aren’t merely disagreeing, you are doing every single thing ou can to try to minimize the fact that this company hired, as their Chief Executive Officer, somebody who has a history of trying to strip civil rights away from gays.

    Your desperation to try to pretend that this doesn’t matter, and again, your desperation to try to minimize the comparison to other forms of discrimination speaks volumes. Especially the part where gays not approving of discrimination is somehow being pissy and easily offended.

    But you know…nice try. I hope that your Fiscal Year Bonus from Mozilla is good this year.

  • petensfo

    @showertile: Where are you from, just curious? In CA the Prop 8 stuff was really awful. 6 years is not that long ago… and, it’s taken SIX F’N YEARS TO UNDO THAT BALONEY! It’s not just that the guy has an opinion, he donated money to actually remove rights from fellow citizens… Civil Rights. That doesn’t equate w/ owning a gun. And he’s not in a vacuum. The guy works in tech, likely surrounded by lots of examples of gay people. Yes, you can have an opinion, but when you donate $ to codify lesser legal status, that’s a whole other game. I don’t care if some people think it’s unreasonable or petty. I attended two receptions for Phyllis & Del, the 1st couple married in SFO, after both of their wedding ceremonies. Phyllis died shortly thereafter. Prop 8, & this kind of bigotry has stood in the way of gay people for a long time and it IS a big f’n deal. You should understand that.

  • showertile

    @Cam: You proved my point by refusing to understand MY hypothetical. The only thing I would like to see minimized is the amount of vitriol coming from our side. It’s not even this issue specifically; I really don’t care for Mozilla and the fact that you try to claim I’m in their pocket is silly.

  • showertile

    @petensfo: I’m from Massachusetts originally. Never lived in CA. I know that Prop 8 was absolute bullshit and I’m glad I didn’t have to live in a place where it passed. Also, I wasn’t equating gay marriage with owning a gun. I was sarcastically presenting a hypothetical to a gentleman who had no argument except for a hypothetical…thereby apparently enraging him.

    My ultimate point is that we shouldn’t celebrate victory by trampling our former enemies. It’s just wrong. The only way we truly win is by standing tall in the face of our opponents and welcome them into our new (better) world, not by peeing on them after they lose.

  • Cam


    No, actually what you have tried to do each time is refuse to deal with the direct post but deflect and pretend that you and this other person are somehow the victim.

    At it’s core. Here is what you have done.

    You have attacked gays as intollerant and “Pissy” for not wanting to deal with a company that knowingly hired somebody who is known to be a bigot and has worked against gay rights, all the while continuing to claim that the fault is the gay communities.

    You claim you have no dog in this fight and yet you have continually tried to deflect from the post and encourage gays to use a company that would hire an anti-gay man as their CEO.

    I know what I am posting. But again, why the desperation on YOUR side to paint gays as pissy and the attackers for not wanting to do business with somebody who paid to strip us of our civil rights, and to paint that person as the innocent victim?

    You obviously have an agenda.

  • showertile

    @Cam: First, I never said all gay folk are pissy, just you. Second, the OP was mine, you replied to me. Third, I never defended the man, only the company. Fourth, I only encouraged people to use Firefox if it’s their best browser. Lastly, my only agenda is to calm the discourse. I don’t like seeing my community use a “with us or against us” mentality. I think it’s sad that you are so angry. I think it’s sad that you think that anyone who disagrees with you must be part of some conspiracy. I have spent the majority of my career in public health specifically fighting the spread of Syphilis and HIV amongst our community. I have marched. I continue to boycott Chik Fil A and Barilla for what it’s worth. I find that to be reasonable. I think that the strategy of going after every person who once said or did something to wrong us is the wrong battle. It’s exhausting and it makes us look bad. We are winning the fight, we shouldn’t salt the Earth. You’re going to continue to attack me and that’s fine, but attacking fellow gay people won’t get you anywhere.

  • itzallan

    @Cam: I can understand your anger and concern here, like I’m sure most of us can understand as well. But you have to remember that we each have the right to pick our own battles and to have our own opinions and differences like you do. It serves nothing good to direct anger toward others in the community who have different perspectives. The lack of tolerance of differences is a battle we all face daily from the world in general, but make sure you guard yourself against falling into the trap of attacking others in the community who see things differently. All efforts we make in working toward more acceptance of diversity and equality will be wasted if we don’t practice it within our own community.

  • colin4

    just uninstalled the app
    I hope people in this world just bcms less narrow minded

Comments are closed.