Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich resigns after being hounded by gay activists for supporting traditional marriage

Brendan EichDarcy Padilla/Wikimedia

After being appointed just last month as CEO, Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich has stepped down. Eich, who was Chief Technology Officer before becoming CEO, has been dogged from the day his appointment was announced after gay marriage activists attacked him for his support of California's Proposition 8 ballot measure.

Eich donated $1,000 in 2008 to the Prop 8 campaign, which sought to reinforce the legal definition of marriage in California as being between a man and a woman. Three members of Mozilla's board of directors have resigned since Eich assumed the CEO position, although Mozilla has reported that their resignations were not due to Eich's beliefs.

In a blog entry posted March 26th, two days after his appointment, Eich tried to ease concerns about the status of Mozilla's community-building, employee health benefit policies, and other areas, stating: "I am committed to ensuring that Mozilla is, and will remain, a place that includes and supports everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, economic status, or religion."

Eich also emphasized that his personal beliefs do not affect his business decisions in an interview with The Guardian: "So I don't want to talk about my personal beliefs because I kept them out of Mozilla all these 15 years we've been going. I don't believe they're relevant."

Some of his employees disagreed, and took to Twitter to call for Eich's resignation:

Mozilla employee tweetJohn Bevan Twitter @bevangelist
Mozilla employee tweetSydney Moyer Twitter @sydneymoyer

Others questioned why these employees were so up-in-arms when Eich was not an outside hire, but CTO and even co-founder of their company.

Sheeri K. Cabral Twitter @sheeri
Mike Price Twitter @mikepricetw

Eich's Prop 8 donation was in fact heavily publicized in the news media in 2012, however, Eich did not address the issue directly at that time, simply tweeting that his personal donations have nothing to do with Mozilla:


Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker announced Eich's resignation on Thursday afternoon via the company's blog:

"We didn't act like you'd expect Mozilla to act. We didn't move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We're sorry. We must do better. Brendan Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO. He's made this decision for Mozilla and our community."