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Some Mozilla Employees Demand New CEO Step Down 824

Posted by timothy
from the why-you-don't-say dept.
_xeno_ (155264) writes "Mozilla recently named a new CEO, Brendan Eich, and as commentators in that article noted, there could be some backlash over his private contributions to political campaigns. Well, it turns out that they were correct, and despite a statement from Brendan Eich pledging to continue Mozilla's inclusiveness, some Mozilla employees are calling for him to step down. Should private beliefs be enough to prevent someone from heading a project they helped found?"
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Some Mozilla Employees Demand New CEO Step Down

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  • No (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HornWumpus (783565) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @04:27PM (#46596649)

    The employees should make sure the door doesn't hit them on the ass on their way out. Modern day McCarthy's.

    • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

      by msauve (701917) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @04:37PM (#46596773)
      If employees can justify asking the boss to leave because of his personal beliefs, then they should respect the opposite and support the boss when he similarly asks them to leave for theirs.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sjames (1099)

        The boss doesn't ask employees to leave. The employee just gets to work one day and find their desk on the front lawn.

        • by lgw (121541)

          Depends where you work. I've been at a major corporation where the CEO got the "everyone who works here raise your hand ... not so fast!" treatment from the board. Twice now, come to think of it.

          And at every big corp I've worked at, you couldn't just fire anyone on a whim, you always had to go through HR, regardless of who you were. Sometimes even for the CEO it's easier just to ask someone to leave.

    • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

      by almitydave (2452422) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @04:37PM (#46596777)

      Well, employment law prevents discriminatory hiring/firing practices (based on religious and many other factors), and if the guy is qualified for the role, his beliefs and political advocacy are irrelevant, as are those of the employees who disagree with those beliefs. People who preach tolerance need to be tolerant, and if he practices what he preaches in his linked blog post, there shouldn't be a problem.

      We've had blacklisting based on political associations before, and I thought we all agreed it's a bad thing?

      • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

        by unixisc (2429386) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @04:41PM (#46596859)
        It is always conditionally agreed. People agree that blacklisting based on political associations is a bad thing, except when it comes to blacklisting people that they disagree with
        • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

          by hubie (108345) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @05:13PM (#46597263)
          Just like Jon Stewart said about entitlements (in context of the Megyn Kelly maternity leave comments):

          Here's the thing about entitlements. They're really only entitlements when they're something other people want. When it's something you want, they're a hallmark of a civilized society, the foundation of a great people. I just had a baby and found out maternity leave strengthens society. But since I still have a job, unemployment benefits are clearly socialism.

        • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

          by msauve (701917) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @05:24PM (#46597389)
          "People agree that blacklisting based on political associations is a bad thing, except when it comes to blacklisting people that they disagree with"

          Exactly. McAvoy exhibits the highest level of hypocrisy:

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

          ...plainly admitting that he's glad they respect his right to hold and voice his own beliefs, while simultaneously encouraging them to not respect those he doesn't agree with (which, BTW, were in the majority).

      • Re:No (Score:5, Interesting)

        by machineghost (622031) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @04:48PM (#46596957)

        We've had blacklisting based on political associations before, and I thought we all agreed it's a bad thing?

        Yeah, we all agreed it's bad. Like remember when the world blacklisted apartheid South Africa and its supporters? That was terrible wasn't it?

      • Re:No (Score:4, Insightful)

        by DaHat (247651) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @04:48PM (#46596961) Homepage

        Correct, remember the other side though.

        While employment law prohibits (not prevents) discriminatory hiring/firing practices... some of these employees have likely crossed a line outside of any kind of protection... in that they are effectively being insubordinate of the current management and in most cases is a fire-able offense.

        Just like in a civil war, if you are unable to stay neutral, best choose your side carefully, because if you back the wrong side you will probably be in a world of pain when it's all done.

      • by Ash Vince (602485) *

        Well, employment law prevents discriminatory hiring/firing practices (based on religious and many other factors), and if the guy is qualified for the role, his beliefs and political advocacy are irrelevant, as are those of the employees who disagree with those beliefs. People who preach tolerance need to be tolerant, and if he practices what he preaches in his linked blog post, there shouldn't be a problem.

        We've had blacklisting based on political associations before, and I thought we all agreed it's a bad thing?

        You would be entirely right were it not for one incredibly important detail: His entire business is based around people working for him for free on an open source product that could be forked. If you are in that position you have to be slightly more concious of how the people you represent feel than if you are actually paying them. Mozilla is basically a charity, not a commercial corporation in the normal profit making, shareholder's holding the real power sense so it is bound by different rules even if it

      • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

        by lgw (121541) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @05:35PM (#46597529) Journal

        Well, employment law prevents discriminatory hiring/firing practices (based on religious and many other factors), and if the guy is qualified for the role, his beliefs and political advocacy are irrelevant, as are those of the employees who disagree with those beliefs. People who preach tolerance need to be tolerant, and if he practices what he preaches in his linked blog post, there shouldn't be a problem.

        We've had blacklisting based on political associations before, and I thought we all agreed it's a bad thing?

        Being conservative is not a protected class. It's not that rare at certain kinds of companies for people to be shown the door if they're "outed" as a conservative (possibly the most famous being the editor of Playgirl).

        For the most part, when people preach "tolerance" they mean "believe everything on my checklist exactly like I do without question", as the word "tolerance" is just a tribal identification signal, not an actual belief. That's really common these days, and I'm really tired of being told I'm a bigot for advocating acceptance of many cultural views!

  • No.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @04:27PM (#46596651)

    Not sure about private beliefs being enough reason but that whole Javascript thing?

    Hell YES.

    That has inflicted more pain on the web than anything else INCLUDING the BLINK tag!

  • First, I'm absolutely 100% against Prop 8. I'm not gay; I just don't think I should have a say in the relationship between two consenting adults.

    That said, I'm absolutely 100% for Eich's right to have an opinion I disagree with. If he were acting on his opinion in an official capacity, sure, release the dogs of PR war. But if he maintains a nondiscriminatory policy, even if he may personally not like it, then that's about all you have the right to ask of him.

    Remember, sometime it'll be our turn to have an unpopular opinion. Would it be OK for our companies to fire us for them, even if we don't bring them into our workplaces? That's not a society I'd like to live in.

    • by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @04:36PM (#46596765)

      No one is threatening to fire Eich. The employees disagree with his position and are asking him to step down. It is their right to do so. It is his right to choose not to do so. If he doesn't, it is their right to quit. No one's rights are being infringed upon in this particular situation. Employees disagree with his views towards gay marriage, and so they don't want to work for him. That sounds reasonable to me.

      • I agree. I was answering the question in the summary, "should private beliefs be enough to prevent someone from heading a project they helped found?"

        Of course not. Unless those beliefs become workplace actions, they should not affect someone's employment.

  • No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 27, 2014 @04:34PM (#46596749)

    If you are so opposed to this guy's viewpoints that you can't stand to work in the same organization with him, the problem's yours, not his. He's not the one demanding you resign because he doesn't agree with yoru views, you are.

    You intolerant clod.

  • by DaHat (247651) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @04:35PM (#46596755) Homepage

    Prop 8 has been a contentious issue for many, and is now largely resolved... yet those who ultimately won are still not happy.

    It is interesting to see how those who supported it (even through a simple donation) are now targets for personal and professional attacks such as this... yet this kind of intolerance for the views of other peoples opinions & donations, does seem to be rather unidirectional, but then that is the typical 'tolerance' that the left in this country believes in.

    • by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @04:42PM (#46596867)

      The reason why the attacks are unidirectional is because gay marriage, or the larger issue of gay rights, is a human rights issue. All you need to do is look back across history to figure out if the side that protects, or the side that attacks, human rights is the "right" side. It's pretty obvious. In the future, people opposed to gay rights today are going to be seen similarly to those who fought against civil rights in the 60s. 2 men or 2 women getting married has the same impact on your life as a black man marrying a white woman. There is no reason to not allow that. The only justification people have for not supporting gay rights is because of their own prejudice.

      • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @05:03PM (#46597159) Journal

        Gay marriage isn't about rights, it is about benefits granted by government. Nothing more, nothing less.

        Most gay people oppose Polygamy, even though that is exactly the same issue, government deciding who can and who can't be "married" (Defining Marriage). Why do they oppose polygamy (polyandry, other plural marriages)? Historically, there is much more evidence of polygamy and even polyandry being "legal" forms of marriage than homosexual marriages.

        Here is my view, as a Libertarian: Government has no right to define what is or what isn't marriage. Period. Individuals are the only people with rights, therefore, marriage is simply a contract between two people. And at that point, it is no longer something that government has a say in. The opponents of gay marriage, made the mistake all along of suggesting that it was a right for only Heterosexual people. It isn't a right, it is a contract, and a sacred one at that (religious). If the Muslims and Mormons want to define marriage to have their polygamy, then that is who defines marriage for them.

  • by thevirtualcat (1071504) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @04:38PM (#46596803)

    I do. It was a pivotal day in the history of the organization.

    His first action as the CEO was to immediately fire anyone who was in any way, shape or form connected to the GBLT community and issue a public statement that says "Fags should use Chrome or IE. Google and Microsoft like you perverts for some reason, but we don't want any of that here." Within a week, he had diverted a substantial portions of Mozilla's revenue to anti-GBLT orgnizations and publicly backed candidates who actively oppose gay rights. There were unsubtantiated rumors he would be working to remove code contributed by GBLT developers from Firefox, but those turned out to be just rumors.

    Oh wait, no. That didn't happen.

    He gave some money to a cause he supports a few years ago that a lot of people disagree with (including me) and didn't apologize for it.

    But I can see how it's easy to get those two things confused.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 27, 2014 @04:39PM (#46596825)

    "Hey, there is this guy, he has been around for pretty much forever, contributed more than half the goddamn planet, but he donated for Prop 8, what was outlawed anyway, he must be the spawn of Satan! He must step back, stop existing, or we boycott our single biggest hope for a better web and anyone who works there and isn't Eric!"
    Those Ars commenters are batsh*t insane, mixing personal feelings and professional stuff. Also, gotta love the comments where he is compared to Hitler or the KKK. It isn't even a different different order of magnitude anymore...

    • by devent (1627873)

      If I have to chose between a "better web" and a world where gays are not prosecuted and are not discriminated any more, then I chose the latter, thank you very much.

  • by chefmonkey (140671) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @04:50PM (#46596983)

    A homosexual Mozilla employee's take on the topic: http://subfictional.com/2014/0... [subfictional.com]
    A statement from Mitch Baker, Mozilla chairperson: https://blog.lizardwrangler.co... [lizardwrangler.com]
    A statement from Brendan himself: https://brendaneich.com/2014/0... [brendaneich.com]
    An official Mozilla statement on its policy regarding employee and contributor diversity: https://blog.mozilla.org/press... [mozilla.org]

  • Social 'Justice' (Score:4, Insightful)

    by epyT-R (613989) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @04:55PM (#46597057)

    So basically, because this guy doesn't enthusiastically cheer for and support gays at every opportunity, he deserves the boot? Doesn't he have a right to express and support his values, too? As an atheist, I think religion is nuts, but the same rights that allow these gay employees to voice their displeasure in the first place, without being booted themselves, should protect him as well. There is no 'controversy' here.

    Marriage, religion, and gay rights should have nothing to do with running a software company, which is what he was hired to do. Let him do it. If he sucks at it, then fire him. If he does a good job, then reward him. Part of being an employee is that sometimes you have to work with people you don't like, and this applies equally to him as well as to these gay employees. Apparently, these professional victims think that life lesson should not apply to them, only to their political enemies. Their crocodile tears on twitter do not impress, either, as they are acting like he victimized them just by taking the job at Mozilla. That's bullshit.

    Workplaces should be amoral, apolitical places. You were hired to do a job, so was he. Do your jobs well and there'll be no time for stupid political wrangling from any side.

    • by devent (1627873) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @09:11PM (#46599301) Homepage

      > So basically, because this guy doesnt enthusiastically cheer for and support gays at every opportunity, he deserves the boot?

      No, because he donated to a law that would remove or prohibit benefits, right and privileges to couples only because they were born homosexual. He actively wants to discriminate a minority because of his personal believes.

      > Their crocodile tears on twitter do not impress, either, as they are acting like he victimized them just by taking the job at Mozilla. Thats bullshit.

      No, Mozilla employees just don't want to see Mozilla, a brand that they helped to create, be associated with someone who actively wants to discriminate a minority. They are worried that a bigot like Brendan Eich is associated with Mozilla.

  • Would we... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WillyWanker (1502057) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @05:46PM (#46597635)

    ...even be having this conversation if he donated money to the KKK?

    • Re:Would we... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gig (78408) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @08:51PM (#46599159)

      If he was a KKK member, Mozilla would likely not have made him CEO. That is the discrepancy here. That is the mistake that Mozilla is being called out on.

      If the KKK in California had put up a proposition to ban so-called* interracial marriage and Brendan Eich gave thousands of dollars to it, and then it passed because of money that flooded in from the slave states, then Mozilla would not have made him CEO. Here, we have a situation that is even worse than that, because years later after much public suffering, after Prop 8 was struck down as unconstitutional, Brendan Eich *still* supports it. He makes no apologies for his support of the KKK or the actions he took to try and make some people less equal than others.

      So Mozilla is saying, some kinds of hatred are just OK with us. We give him a pass for his anti-homo actions. Mozilla says, “won't everybody please respect Brendan Eich's right to put triangles on the arms of all homos and single them out for special second-class citizen treatment?” No, he doesn't have a right to do that. And he doesn't have a right to be respected by the people he victimized with his actions. Mozilla gains Eich as CEO and loses a large part of its community in return. Action gets reaction.

      (* I say so-called interracial marriage because there is only one race — human race — and therefore all marriage is humanracial marriage. In related news: the earth is round, evolution can be seen under a microscope, environmental pollution damages your health, and it is the 21st century.)

  • Irony (Score:4, Insightful)

    by therealkevinkretz (1585825) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @05:59PM (#46597783)

    So McAvoy is glad he can express feelings without fear of retribution but because of the CEO's private views, *he* should suffer it? What hypocrisy.

  • by gig (78408) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @07:58PM (#46598849)

    this is about PUBLIC ACTIONS. Nobody is responsible for Brendan Eich's public actions except Brendan Eich. He reaps what he sowed just like we all do.

    Brendan Eich publicly funded a political campaign to destroy the marriages and families of about 25% of his fellow Californians. Some of whom work for Mozilla, and some of whom partner with Mozilla. Private beliefs are something that is private, inside your own head. Publicly funding the Prop 8 campaign is public, and takes place well outside of Brendan Eich's own head.

    Had Brendan Eich kept his hatred and bigotry inside his own head he would be OK right now. There are CEO's who are racist bigots and they keep it to themselves. What Brendan Eich did by comparison was sign up for the KKK and donate thousands of dollars to *successfully* reimplementing racial segregation in California, by aligning himself with money and groups that came mostly from outside California. Because of the actions of Brendan Eich and other bigots like him, millions of Californians were told by their government to start sitting at the back of the bus, and this went on for years while the courts laboriously went through everything and said, yes, we already knew that creating second-class citizens was wrong. No, you don't have the right to make them into second-class citizens.

    Married couples were told that their marriages were invalid. People died while their marriages were invalidated, and their partners got kicked out of the home they had lived in for years because the house was taxed as a gift between two platonic friends.

    Me, I am not going to be involved in anything Mozilla-related while this bigot fuck is CEO. I took Firefox out of my development targets. Not because of Brendan Eich's “beliefs” but because of his actions.

  • by devent (1627873) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @09:03PM (#46599239) Homepage

    Strange reactions here on Slashdot. Some "insightful" comments here were about freedom of believe, freedom of speech, intolerance, separation of work and personal believes. Let me first explain that same-sex marriage have absolutely nothing to do with religion. The point of the debate of same-sex marriage are not some pagan rituals from aeons ago, long assimilated by the Christian church, that involves a priest and some blessings. The point of same-sex marriage is the recognition of a partnership of two people by the government on the state and the federal level. In the USA there are currently 1,138 statutory provisions[1] in which marital status is a factor in determining benefits, rights, and privileges. That are 1,138 benefits, right and privileges that gay couples currently cannot benefit from, because they were born like they were born!

    Nobody is talking to force the church or any priest to marry same sex couples. It is only about the recognition of the union between two people so they can enjoy the same benefits, right and privileges that heterosexual couples enjoy!

    Brendan Eich have all right to exercise his freedom of speech and freedom of believes by his donation to Prop 8. But you have also give the same right to the employees of Mozilla who opposes his bigotry. The definition of a bigot is someone who "strongly and unfairly dislikes other people or ideas" [2]. Nobody except Brendan Eich can know if he have this feelings against gay couples, but his actions are very clearly the actions of a bigot. How can somebody who does not strongly and unfairly dislikes same sex couples to marry donates for a law that would prohibit same sex couples to marry? (keep in mind that by marrying I mean that the state recognizes the union)

    How would you feel if tomorrow a Prop 9. would be introduced that would prohibit inter-racial marriage? And if Brendan Eich would donate from his private bank account to Prop 9? Would you still be comfortable that he represents Mozilla as the new CEO? There is no difference here. Two people are forbidden to form a union only because they were born like they were born.

    Again, Brendan Eich have all his rights of freedom of speech. But he represents as the CEO Mozilla, and his actions, also his private actions, are tied to Mozilla.

    [1] http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d... [gao.gov]
    [2] http://www.merriam-webster.com... [merriam-webster.com]

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