Friday, April 04, 2014

Mozilla CEO resigns over past contribution to support CA Prop 8


Brendan Eich resigned as CEO of Mozilla, after it was disclosed he had made a donation in 2008 to support California Proposition 8.  The Wall Street Journal story is here. 

Mozilla, as an employer, has long offered same-sex couples the same benefits as opposite-sex couples. 
Eich is credited with having invented javascript as a programming scripting language for websites (not to be confused with java). 
  
The controversy over Eich echoes the discussion after the Chik-Fil-A CEO spoke out against gay marriage in 2012.  In just two years, that sort of position has become less acceptable in mainstream media.

The capacity of someone in a leadership position in any major company (with direct reports, or the duty to make decisions about customers or stakeholders) to speak publicly on controversial social issues, even on his own, has long been a possible “conflict of interest” issue, at least in ethical thinking. Here is a more detailed take on my own history with it.  My concern had more to do with unsupervised broadcast speech than financial donations, but the latter would sound more obvious. 

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