OkCupid Pairs Users With New Browser: Mozilla CEO Supported Prop 8
Mozilla Firefox’s newest CEO, Brendan Eich, has not been a popular choice for a number of reasons — not the least of which involves his support of California’s Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot initiative to ban gay marriage. He donated $1,000 to the proposition. The LGBTQ community is far from the only group taking issue with Eich though, and one happens to be a tech company. OkCupid put up a message to its site users yesterday, explaining that, “Brenden Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples,” and as a result, OKCupid “would prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid.”
While the message does link through to the site should users chose to continue on the platform, the message is communicated first. “Politics is normally not the business of a website,” said the message, going on to explain that as OKCupid has “devoted the last ten years to bringing people — all people — together,” as it has both a personal and professional interest in ensuring that “roughly 8 percent of the relationships we’ve worked so hard to bring about” not be made illegal. “OkCupid is for creating love,” it read. “Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure.” The message then links to four alternate internet options, Google Chrome, Internet Exploder — likely meant to say Explorer, since that isn’t a software I’m familiar with — Opera, and Safari.
Mozilla later sent en emailed statement to Time in response to OkCupid’s message. “Mozilla supports equality for all,” it said, “including marriage equality for [LGBTQ] couples. No matter who you are or who you love, everyone deserves the same rights and to be treated equally. OkCupid never reached out to us to let us know of their intentions, not to confirm facts.”
Also rumored to be upset by Brendan Eich’s hire were three Firefox board members, Gary Kovacs, John Lilly, and Ellen Siminoff, who, according to Forbes, left in protest. Ars Technica conversely reported that an anoynymous source had claimed the resignations were because the board memebers had hoped for an outside hire, and failing that, had resigned. A statement forwarded to Ars from a Mozilla spokesperson addressed the departure of the three members, saying that, “The three board members ended their terms last week for a variety of reasons. Two had been planning to leave for some time, one since January, and one explicity at the end of the CEO search, regardless of the person selected.”
Other employees have been protesting Eich’s hire for reasons related to his stance on same-sex marriage, demanding he be removed. Mark Surman, Mozilla Foundation executive director, said in a statement on Mozilla’s employee reaction to Eich that, “Our culture of openness extends to letting our staff and community be candid about their views on Mozilla’s direction.”
UPDATE: As of Thursday, Eich resigned his position. Mozilla chairwoman Mitchell Baker gave a statement on his departure on its website, saying “Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it. We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves. Brenden Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO. He made this decision for Mozilla and our community.” As for its role, an OKCupid spokesperson said, according to ABC News, that it is “pleased that OkCupid’s boycott has brought tremendous awareness to the critical matter of equal rights for all individuals and partnerships; today’s decision reaffirms Mozilla’s commitment to that cause.
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- Same-Sex Marriage in Michigan: Couples Retain Federal Benefits
Follow Anthea Mitchell on Twitter @AntheaWSCS