Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Editor's Letter

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Editor's Letter

Article excerpt

There's a moment before something big happens. It's the moment just before a thunderstorm when there's a frisson in the air; it's the twig-snapping before an avalanche. In The Princess Bride, it's the popping noise in the Fire Swamps before an explosive flame spurt. We're at a premoment now, before the big event, one that will undoubtedly take years to fully unfold. That pre-moment is the resignation of Brendan Eich as the CEO of Mozilla.

On March 31, dating site OkCupid posted a notice to users coming to its site using the Firefox browser. The notice read, in part: "Mozilla's new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples. We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid." Eich had taken the post as CEO just the week prior. The sticking point for OkCupid was the $1,000 donation to the virulently antigay (and successful) Prop 8 campaign in California.

Mozilla responded with a message of support for marriage equality and fair employment practices, but Eich, given ample opportunity in interviews, did not recant or display any regret for his donation. Grassroots groups called on Mozilla employees to express their displeasure, which they did. Eich resigned.

This resignation presages the time when it will no longer be possible to be openly antigay and keep your job as the head of a large company, in the way that it's impossible to be an openly racist or anti-Semitic CEO. That's still some time off, for most companies. Yet Mozilla, as a singular organization with an equality ethos baked right into its open-source technology, seems to be a company for which an antigay CEO is anathema.

Right-winger Sean Hannity, but also lefty Bill Maher, pounced on Eich's resignation, decrying the gay thugs who have taken this all too far. The National Review called it a "lynch mob" (a confounding term with regard to the expression of civil rights). …

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