A brief comment on the resignation of Mozilla CEO, Brendan Eich. In particular, the contents of the quite viral article from Ars Technica are what inspire me to write. I have one point to make, and it’s a simple one.
Let’s do some phrase replacement with the quotes from the article.
Calls for his ouster were premised on the notion that all [opposition to the Civil Rights Act] was hateful, and that a CEO should be judged not just by his or her conduct in the professional realm, but also by [racial or ethnic biases] he or she supports as a private citizen.
But at a time when we are demanding passage of the [Civil Rights Act] so that companies can’t just up and fire [minority] employees because they don’t agree with them — as they can now in about two-thirds of our states — we need to think very long and hard about whether we should demand someone be removed from his job for exercising his constitutional rights as part of the cornerstone of our democracy: a free and fair election.
We say that [minorities] shouldn’t be fired for something that has nothing to do with their job performance. I think that principle is good enough to apply to everyone, including Eich. And there is no evidence that I can find that his [opposition to the Civil Rights Act] affected his ability to do the job he was hired to do. Eich [opposes the Civil Rights Act] out of his own pocket. He didn’t [oppose the Civil Rights Act] on behalf of Mozilla, he didn’t [oppose the Civil Rights Act] with Mozilla funds or through a foundation sponsored by Mozilla. And he certainly didn’t own Mozilla, which is a non-profit organization. It was his own dime on his own time.
Emphasis is mine. One more.
Pardon this interruption of your TruthRevolt experience. Mozilla recently forced its CEO, Brendan Eich, to resign over his personal support for [racial segregation]. The firing followed a vicious smear campaign against Eich by dating website OKCupid, in which OKCupid blocked Mozilla users from visiting their website.
We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access TruthRevolt, given Mozilla’s crackdown on [racial or ethnic biases] held by millions of Americans.
Realistically, opposition to same-sex marriage is not quite the same as supporting racial segregation, but the point stands. These views are anathema, and for good reason. Racism, sexism, and homophobia are not run-of-the-mill political stances in the vein of educational reform or progressive taxation. They are a fundamental disrespect towards fellow human beings and should be treated as such.
In America, we allow anyone to be as racist as they please, but we hold public figures to a higher standard than others. CEOs are not 9-to-5 laborers that get to leave work at the office. They represent and embody their organizations around the clock. The CEO’s merits and flaws reflect upon the company as a whole, including the people who work for them. Because of this, it matters a great deal how the highest-paid person in any company chooses to spend their money and their time. Just imagine how it would feel as an employee at Mozilla to have your paychecks signed by a man actively seeking to prevent or dissolve your marriage. That’s not just a difference of opinion.