Culture

Should the Mozilla CEO's Resignation Be Considered a Liberal Victory?

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Credit: Darcy Padilla/wikimedia

Over at The Atlantic Conor Friedersdorf wrote about his concerns relating to the recent news that Brendan Eich stepped down as CEO of Mozilla in the wake of news that he donated $1,000 in support of California's Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that banned same-sex marriage. Proposition 8 has since been overturned.

Friedersdorf rightly writes that it is concerning that Mozilla ousted Eich despite the fact that there was no evidence he planned to treat gay employees at Mozilla badly:

…no one had any reason to worry that Eich, a longtime executive at the company, would do anything that would negatively affect gay Mozilla employees. In fact, Mozilla Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker, his longtime business partner who now defends the need for his resignation, said this about discovering that he gave money to the Proposition 8 campaign: "That was shocking to me, because I never saw any kind of behavior or attitude from him that was not in line with Mozilla's values of inclusiveness." It's almost as if that donation illuminated exactly nothing about how he'd perform his professional duties.

But no matter.

Calls for his ouster were premised on the notion that all support for Proposition 8 was hateful, and that a CEO should be judged not just by his or her conduct in the professional realm, but also by political causes he or she supports as a private citizen.

If that attitude spreads, it will damage our society.

Friedersdorf goes on to say that Mozilla's decision violates the principles that they claim to uphold:

"Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech," the company wrote. "Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard."

This is a mess.

Proposition 8 was overturned. Gay marriage is legal in California. Having a CEO who opposed gay marriage now would in no way diminish equal marriage rights for gays.

And equality is not "necessary for meaningful speech," unless you think the speech of Martin Luther King Jr., to take one example, was not in fact meaningful. The sloppy logic here is indicative of a company doing damage control, one trying to placate its critics but implicitly disrespecting them by doing so with nonsense.

I think Mozilla should be allowed to fire someone for their beliefs about gay marriage, but I don't think it's a good idea, especially when they try and portray themselves as a company that values inclusiveness. 

Writing at The Dish, Andrew Sullivan described Eich's firing as "McCarthyism applied by civil actors":

As I said last night, of course Mozilla has the right to purge a CEO because of his incorrect political views. Of course Eich was not stripped of his First Amendment rights. I'd fight till my last breath for Mozilla to retain that right. What I'm concerned with is the substantive reason for purging him. When people's lives and careers are subject to litmus tests, and fired if they do not publicly renounce what may well be their sincere conviction, we have crossed a line. This is McCarthyism applied by civil actors. This is the definition of intolerance. If a socially conservative private entity fired someone because they discovered he had donated against Prop 8, how would you feel? It's staggering to me that a minority long persecuted for holding unpopular views can now turn around and persecute others for the exact same reason.

All of the fuss over Eich's beliefs could have been avoided if political donations were anonymous. Eich's beliefs about gay marriage weren't the only positions on display. It has also been revealed that he donated money to the campaigns of Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul.

The Washington Post's Radley Balko tweeted the following earlier today, highlighting the fact that none of us know which of our current beliefs could one day get us fired from our jobs:

Twitter

Read more from Reason on Mozilla here.

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  1. Should the Mozilla CEO’s Resignation Be Considered a Liberal Victory?

    We should ask John.

    1. I think Mozilla should be allowed to fire someone for their beliefs about gay marriage, but I don’t think it’s a good idea

      There you go.

      1. It was said in jest to hopefully stop the insanity. In retrospect I wish I hadn’t said it.

  2. Can’t we just have a hockey thread or something? The horse is fucking dead, man!

    1. Can we get rid of the fucking shootout? Or just make all games three points like the IIHF does.

      1. Amen. Fucking hate the shootout. Every casual fan, however, loves it. Which means it stays forever.

        1. I heard an honest-to-god proposal to end tied baseball games after the 10th innings with (wait for it) a home run derby.

          1. “Boring! Baseball wasn’t.. Hm. So they finally jazzed it up?”

    2. Datsyuk is back tonight, baby. You fucking Yinzers are gonna be hating life in a few weeks when the Red Wings fuck Sidney Crosby and the rest of the Pens up!

  3. Can’t we just have a hockey thread or something? The horse is fucking dead, man!

  4. Can’t we just have a hockey thread or something? The horse is fucking dead, man!

    1. Woohoo!

    2. Hit it one more time, Tundra!

  5. He’s got one stupid looking face.

    1. And yet he invented javascript, which is universally used in today’s web. (Well, except for a couple of jsp holdouts.)

      1. Isn’t javascript a mess and a security nightmare or is that Flash? Or both?

        1. Flash moreso. Javascript is not inherently a risk, but it always depends on the people writing and consuming the libraries. Some people can fuck up a one car funeral procession.

          1. Would you stop bringing that up? Sheeesh…

      2. Oh, really? I didn’t know that.

        So gays will be boyotting javascript then?

        1. Actually, I’d like to back that up a bit. Gay political advocates will be boyotting javascript then?

          1. Creator of javascript. Has been with the Mozilla codebase since it was Netscape. So yes.

        2. The guy is just a badass who has done more for open source software and the internet as we use it than almost everyone not named Berners-Lee. But by all means, run him out of town because he took a position that I believe 51% of Californians agreed with at the time.

          1. Maybe he’ll move to anti-gay Russia and move in with Snowden.

  6. What a shame Radley felt it necessary to establish his bona fides by announcing where he stands on gay marriage before commenting on the more general principle at stake.

    Firefox is off my machines, and not coming back unless and until Mozilla does something that convinces me their fundamental mission does not include placating political activists of any stripe. Something like:

    “We believe in diversity and inclusiveness, and that means not punishing people we disagree with on issues totally unrelated to operating the business.”

    1. Wiping FF off your machine because of Echi getting tossed out is every bit as stupid as tossing Echi for some donation to the prop 8 campaign.

      1. Yep I’m not going to pick my browser based on any of this, from start to finish. Not that I currently use it anyways.

        1. I’m using FF in total indifference right now.

        2. I’m sticking with FF for now because I’d have to redo all my tabs and bookmarks and whatnot with a new browser. This CEO firing BS isn’t in the decision-making process.

      2. “Wiping FF off your machine because blah blah I’m a ginormous retard blah blah”

        Fuck you guy, if they want to give me even the smallest reason to switch to one of the many other browser offerings, then “we don’t actually believe in free speech” is as good a reason as any.

        And honestly, your entire premise is retarded.

        1. Someone’s a bit angry

          1. Well, I hope you get over it.

            1. I’m not the one who’s mad. I’m chilling. You’re the one who seems like they need to relax.

    2. It would be a different matter if the guy had vocally and publicly engaged in anti-gay politics (which, as an aside, I don’t think is necessarily the same as opposing gay marriage), but he didn’t.

    3. He could have just cited R C’s Law… “You Today, Me Tomorrow” (did I get that right?)

  7. The government didn’t fire him. CEO serves at the pleasure of the board, or something like that…

    Hope the leafs don’t make it in, they’ll just be crushed.

    1. They won’t. 1 point back and C-bus has 2 games in hand. No fucking way do the Leafs get in.

      1. New coach next year, then?

  8. I think Mozilla should be allowed to fire someone for their beliefs about gay marriage, but I don’t think it’s a good idea, especially when they try and portray themselves as a company that values inclusiveness.

    Indeed, there’s no question that the Mozilla company has every right to fire their CEOs for whatever reason they want. Many liberals concur with this argument and have mentioned it many times including people like Alan Colmes, who said the same exact thing just a couple of hours ago in Gretchen Carlson’s (aka ‘Bubbles’) Fox News show.

    However, if anybody of us makes the case that a company should be able to fire any of its workers for whatever reason the company deems acceptable, these same liberals will start to pull their hair and wail in horror because – they would explain – people have a right to make a living and shit.

  9. But without nonstop political purity tests, how will I know whom to hate?

    1. Hate everybody. It cuts out the red tape.

    2. Hate them all and let God sort them out.

  10. “Should the Mozilla CEO’s Resignation Be Considered a Liberal Victory?”

    Is he hanging from a tree?

  11. Balko, don’t make me regret spending my own money to buy your book “Rise of the Warrior Cop” (available at Amazon.com and fine booksellers everywhere), by kow-towing to the Sister of Perpetual Aggrievance and the SJWs everywhere who think if the kick and scream and fling shit at the walls, they can have their way.

  12. It’s weak-kneed appeasers, all the way down.

  13. I think Mozilla should be allowed to fire someone for their beliefs about gay marriage, but I don’t think it’s a good idea, especially when they try and portray themselves as a company that values inclusiveness.

    “Inclusive” here seems to mean “support for people who hold PC views”.

  14. I don’t much give a shit about homosexuals, or about what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own workplaces.

    I am opposed to gay marriage, because it’s not about true love, or human dignity; it’s about sticking your hand in somebody else’s pocket.

    *shuts off computer, leaves*

      1. +1 So you’re probably playing cards, and he cheated!

    1. “I am opposed to gay marriage, because it’s not about true love, or human dignity; it’s about sticking your hand in somebody else’s pocket.”

      Based on that premise, you should be against all marriage.

  15. Calls for his ouster were premised on the notion that all support for Proposition 8 was hateful, and that a CEO should be judged not just by his or her conduct in the professional realm, but also by political causes he or she supports as a private citizen.

    Case in point: our resident statist Tony never stopped calling this guy a ‘bigot’ even when the only thing the man did was give $1000 to a pro-Prop 8 political campaign, 6 YEARS ago.

    You can BET the house that the same people who called for Brendan Eich’s ouster from Mozilla will not bother to search for all those millions of Californians who voted for Prop 8 to ask THEIR employers to fire THEM for being bigoted. Who’s in for that bet?

    1. Or Barack Obama who opposed equal rights for gays in the military and in marriage and had to be shamed into dropping his opposition… 😉

      1. Totally different, Tarran.

        Oh, and RACIST!

    2. You can BET the house that the same people who called for Brendan Eich’s ouster from Mozilla will not bother to search for all those millions of Californians who voted for Prop 8 to ask THEIR employers to fire THEM for being bigoted. Who’s in for that bet?

      Don’t give them any further ideas. It’s already established that people can lose their livelihood for holding wrongthink.

      1. But you are OK with anyone losing his livelihood at any time for any reason… as long as he’s employed by someone. The CEO is kind of employed by the board, right?

        1. I’m not.

          Should it be legal? Sure, but it is all kinds of fucked up to fire someone because you find out they are conservative or liberal or libertarian, if it isn’t relevant to the job. John overstated his case, but he is right that we should not be in the practice of politicizing the personal or business.

          1. I agree, except perhaps in the case of a CEO and others who are responsible for upholding a brand.

            1. except perhaps in the case of a CEO and others who are responsible for upholding a brand.

              Which wouldn’t have even been known about if it hadn’t been leaked by the IRS. You can hardly argue that it’s bad for the brand if it’s not public knowledge.

              1. Keep up with the facts.

                1. But Prop 8 was passed by a majority of voters in CA. Democracy! Surely it can’t be wrong.

                2. Keep up with the facts.

                  Start providing some, Poofy.

        2. Re: Tony,

          But you are OK with anyone losing his livelihood at any time for any reason

          Being employed by someone is NOT “your livelihood”, Tony. Otherwise, one could say a contractor had his “livelihood” taken away from him the moment a competitor underbids him or when a company hires someone that is not me. If you really wanted to take my livelihood, it would mean expropriating my labor and working capital or cutting off my hands or something, so mind your definitions.

          A company has every right to fire a person for any reason, because the job belongs to the employer, not to the employee, just like my lawn belongs to ME and not to the landscaper (I don’t have a lawn, by the way, only a few potted plants)

          The point being made in the piece above and by most is that Mozilla here jumped the gun, just like A&E did and that was a case where the TV company had greater justification than Mozilla.

          1. You don’t get property, silly, you don’t believe in government. Your “property” belongs to whomever has a bigger arsenal than you, in your fantastic utopia.

            1. Your “property” belongs to whomever has a bigger arsenal than you, in your fantastic utopia.

              Libertarianism is not anarchy, but it certainly is too much for proglydytes to understand the difference.

            2. A typically retarded non-sequitur all on its own, but all the more so when it addresses absolutely nothing that was said in the comment to which it is intended as a reply. Bonus points for that Tony.

        3. But you are OK with anyone losing his livelihood at any time for any reason… as long as he’s employed by someone.

          Burn that strawman Tony!! BURN HIM!!!

          Now tell me again why guns are more dangerous than alcohol.

    3. Everyone who supported prop 8 and hasn’t repented deserves to be judged as a bigot. Did you see the ads that money funded? Gays were gonna pervert all of our children and turn them gay, which is of course a very bad thing. So fuck all of them.

      1. Re: Tony,

        Everyone who supported prop 8 and hasn’t repented deserves to be judged as a bigot.

        Just like those that don’t embrace the revolution are to be deemed Kulaks and dealt with appropriately. No worries, I get you, Tony. I do get you perfectly.

        Did you see the ads that money funded?

        It was difficult not to.

        Gays were gonna pervert all of our children and turn them gay

        Ah, OK, so you saw completely different adds.

      2. …looking out your window and seeing an Enlightened and Tolerant corpse swinging from every lamppost.

      3. You keep using that word without realizing that you’re describing you ad your ilk.

        Bigoted

        adjective

        1.having or revealing an obstinate belief in the superiority of one’s own opinions and a prejudiced intolerance of the opinions of others.

        Stop trying to redefine words to absolve yourself or to mask your massive level of intolerance.

        Diversity, counter to your beliefs, is not lock step conformity of opinion between swaths of voters who choose to always feel disenfranchized.

        Now watch this drive.

      4. Only gay loving fanatics and immoral perverts think that.

        Which one are you?

  16. It’s quite an absurdity to see Mozilla touting how much they support Freedom of Speech immediately after they fired someone because of his political views.

  17. The left is overplaying their hand and making people boycott weary. This tactic will peter out soon. But in the meantime, Red Tony will take a passionate half thought out position against.

    1. I BOYCOTT YOU!

      Sorry, I got carried away.

  18. It has also been revealed that he donated money to the campaigns of Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul.

    The fact that he can’t find a reason to donate to one or the other makes me wonder what his personal politics are. There is very little overlap there. They both oppose abortion, gay marriage and like God. The similarities end there, and in implementation of their preferences are diametrically opposed.

    Maybe he just likes underdogs.

    1. Maybe he just donates randomly. I think I might start doing that.

      Ever read Lawrence Block’s Evan Tanner books? He’s the guy who can’t sleep who is a member of every crazy revolutionary organization you can think of.

    2. They are both against foreign intervention.

      1. But Buchanan seems to base most of his stance on his hatred of NeoCons, and suggests that Jews are all behind the NeoCon movement.

    3. Didn’t Ron Paul support Buchanan in the 90s?

      Eich seems like a paleocon, based on the little that we know

      1. OK. Paleocon, that makes a little more sense. But Buchanan? He’s like the evil fascist politician from a bad novel, only, you know, he’s real.

        1. Buchanan is kind of the standard bearer of the paleocon movement. Paleocons tend to be socially conservative (usually politically, as well as personally), anti-interventionist, and anti-free trade. Ron Paul and the LRC crowd have been too cozy with them for my tastes in the past.

        2. I hate how he blocked Jewish immigration during the Nazi era…wait, that was FDR.

        3. Eh, most political groupings don’t make very much sense when it comes right down to it. I suspect it’s a cultural vote; Ron and Pat aren’t very similar starting premises but they share similar regionalist/culturalist assumptions.

  19. All of Jonathan Rauch’s fears are one comma away from coming true.

    I am reminded of the letter Vetinari wrote to Sam Vimes in Jingo:

    Sam Vimes, Knight.

    Christians, protected class.

    Its only a matter of time until the socons come to terms with the progs waging a scorched earth campaign and bring in the russian winter.

    1. Uh, what?

      1. Every single anti-discrimination law includes religion.

        Jonathan Rauch has spoken fairly eloquently about the risk of the so-con majority coming to terms with this, and its implications for the gay rights movement.

        1. Is there a link?

          1. To Rauch’s comments? I can try and find it. It was on reasonTV some time back.

            I think its this one:
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFVRRP-J9mI

            1. I don’t recall exactly what he said, though IIRC he was mainly criticizing the Progs.

              Now, lots of SoCons want to enforce antidiscrimination laws when Christians are discriminated against. But they were advocating this before gay marriage was a thing.

              1. There are people who believe that Catholicism is the Devil’s religion . I do not find it problematic that anti-discrimination laws forbid those who generally offer goods and services like hamburgers, car washes, and photography supplies from refusing to sell to Catholics.

                But what about a photographer refusing to photograph a Catholic religious ceremony (such as a wedding)? Could a court find that such a refusal constitutes illegal discrimination against Catholics, even if said photographer is perfectly willing to photograph a birthday party or retirement party of a Catholic customer?

  20. Should the Mozilla CEO’s Resignation Be Considered a Liberal Victory?

    I guess that would depend on what liberals want.

    If the goal is to foster equality or prevent bigotry, then probably not. I don’t see how this changes minds or makes things better for gay people.

    If the goal is to ostracize those with viewpoints outside their own, this is undoubtedly a success (albeit a small one).

    1. And that invites similar conduct from the other side.

  21. Despite all of my posts on the matter, I actually wouldn’t have cared if they kept him on. But it seems like a decision based on public perception and they are entitled to that and I’m sick of John (and a lot of libertarians) getting their dander up over this one specific case out of what very much seems like pissiness over gays getting equal rights.

    Let’s not forget what a nasty and evil campaign there was behind Prop. 8. My sympathy simply tends to favor the people whose basic right religious bigots took away over a CEO ousted for his support of that campaign.

    1. Re: Tony,

      But it seems like a decision based on public perception

      Most posts about the subject are in agreement that Mozilla jumped the gun here. The company could have perfectly ignored the calls for boycott from the fringe woolies and keep what by all accounts sounds like the most qualified person for the spot.

      Let’s not forget what a nasty and evil campaign there was behind Prop. 8.

      Irrelevant. Those were campaign decisions. That does not justify committing a fallacy of composition by lumping together the campaign and the people that voted for Prop 8.

      My sympathy simply tends to favor the people whose basic right religious bigots took away over a CEO ousted for his support of that campaign.

      There are people that make pragmatic arguments against gay marriage that have nothing to do with religiosity, Tony – you know that, don’t you? Either way, none of that means people who supported the traditional form of marriage are bigots.

      1. There are people that make pragmatic arguments against gay marriage that have nothing to do with religiosity, Tony – you know that, don’t you?

        Perhaps, but not seriously. The courts have all found that opposition to marriage equality is based on animus, and it’s all coming from the Christians. If libertarians were ever to get their shit together and take a case to court based on the unconstitutionality of government recognition of marriage, then godspeed, may you not be laughed out of court and exposed as one and the same as the Christian bigots.

        1. The courts have all found that opposition to marriage equality is based on animus, and it’s all coming from the Christians.

          Lol. Cite that legal opinion please.

          1. Baker v. Nelson, 191 N.W.2d 185 (Minn. 1971)

  22. Over at The Atlantic Conor Friedersdorf wrote

    I stopped right there.

  23. On the surface the response to this seems relatively simple and noncontroversial: people should be free to associate with one another however they see fit, and call for others not to associate with how they see fit.

    However, this is a bit of different case than, for example, the boycott of Disney by some Christian groups, which is based on actions of the company that those groups disagree with. This is more akin to ostracizing than anything else: someone holds positions (and has at one point in the past acted on them) that we find repellent, therefor we want nothing to do with him.

    From a practical standpoint, I do not see this action as corrective from the point of view of those who support state sanctioned same-sex marriage: this is likely only to deepen the resolve those against sex marriage, and is probably not going to make Eich see the error of his ways.

    Lastly there is the problem of anonymous political speech. Many political donations go to people that would use force against their opponents on various issues. As a fictional example consider a group soliciting donations to advertise a state amendment for gun restrictions, and as a subset those who would vote in support of those restrictions. I am not sure that speech that is directly in support of government action should be considered private, as it is calling for public action, and often government violence.

  24. Mozilla ousted Eich despite the fact that there was no evidence he planned to treat gay employees at Mozilla badly

    There’s innocent until proven guilty. Then, there’s self incrimination.

    I think that’s what happened here.

    1. Based on all of the HR complaints about his poor treatment of gay people?

  25. I fail to see the difference in the mobs? Detroit, Mob beats man that stopped to check child he accidentally hit, i.e., following the law: http://www.mlive.com/news/detr…..h_man.html

  26. “I think Mozilla should be allowed to fire someone for their beliefs about gay marriage, but I don’t think it’s a good idea, especially when they try and portray themselves as a company that values inclusiveness.”

    We live in a day and age where if Eich was fired because he believed in gay marriage he could sue, and the company would be likely prosecuted for some kind of violation of ‘civil rights’. Yet it’s ok that he was fired because he didn’t believe in it. While he likely won’t, I’d like to see him sue Mozilla over this.

    Stuff like this is very chilling. Our society is increasingly becoming something out of a nightmare.

    1. We live in a day and age where if Eich was fired because he believed in gay marriage he could sue, and the company would be likely prosecuted for some kind of violation of ‘civil rights’.

      That’s the problem, and the solution isn’t to flip the roles around. Nobody should be allowed to sue their employer for firing them unless it’s for breach of contract.

      1. But until the law is changed, we should support any such suit by Eich.

  27. Worth posting if only for the sexy sexy shoes

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KY9bpTeXDc

  28. I think that dude likes to hear himself talk.

    http://www.GotzAnon.tk

  29. This case makes me think of how I might feel if something like this happened to Mike Lupica. Lupica’s anti-gun views and bigotry toward gun owners is irrelevant to his work as a sports journalist, but I think I wouldn’t mind one bit if he was run out of town on a rail.

    1. As long as he keeps it out of sports articles.

      Most people (on both sides of the same-sex “marriage” issue) would probably not think it appropriate for someone writing an article reviewing a video game to jump into an anti-gay screed.

  30. This firing due to a pathetic $1 thousand dollar donation is simply more proof of the left’s complete intolerance of those who may disagree with them.

    The really amusing part is these people actually think they’re “elites” who are smarter than the rest of us and they believe this gives them the right to tell the rest of us what to do even though the things they say and do proves them to be much less than wise.

  31. I can’t believe they let him go for a $1k donation he made several years ago…this had to be that convenient excuse Mozilla’s BoD needed to hit the eject button sans an expensive golden parachute package due to “conduct unbecoming of an officer of the corporation”. There’s no freaking way I’m giving up my Firefox/Adblock browser combo over this.

    OKC on the other hand? Unbecomingly displayed some *overt* intolerance of opposing views. Ergo, get off my PC, and don’t come back.

    Oh, and go Flyers.

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