After only being in the position of CEO at Mozilla for a number of weeks, internal unrest saw employees publicly call for Eich to resign. The point of contention was Eich's views on marriage equality with his history of opposition to gay marriage.
Former CEOs Gary Kovacs and John Lilly, along with Shmoop CEO Ellen Siminoff, stepped down from the Mozilla board not long after Eich was promoted. They had hoped for an outsider to take over the role, and believed Eich was a liability for Mozilla, its products, services and customers.
Earlier this week, online dating site OkCupid took a strong stance against Mozilla with Eich at the helm, with a letter to users urging them to drop Firefox while he remains chief executive.
"If individuals like Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8% of the relationships we've worked so hard to bring about would be illegal. Equality for gay relationships is personally important to many of us here at OkCupid," the letter to Firefox users of OkCupid read.
"Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure."
Brendan Eich's anti-gay marriage activities
In March, 2012, a donation made by Eich toward an anti-gay marriage campaign came to light. He had donated $1,000 to the campaign in favour of passing California Proposition 8 - to outlaw gay marriage in the state - while identifying his employer as Mozilla Corporation.
The revelation came as a surprise to many in the tech sphere, and provoked outrage in the media and on social media. As time went on, the issue died down until Eich was promoted to chief executive at Mozilla.
In response to the re-kindling flames, Mozilla reached out to users in late-March, re-affirming its commitment to marriage equality and LGBT equality.
The opposition only got louder and on Thursday, April 3, Brendan Eich officially stepped down from the role as CEO of Mozilla.
Mozilla's comments on Eich stepping down
The following was written by Mitchell Baker, Executive Chairwoman, Mozilla.
Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn't live up to it. We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it's because we haven't stayed true to ourselves.
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.
Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. 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.
Our organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness. We welcome contributions from everyone regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, language, race, sexual orientation, geographical location and religious views. Mozilla supports equality for all.
We have employees with a wide diversity of views. Our culture of openness extends to encouraging staff and community to share their beliefs and opinions in public. This is meant to distinguish Mozilla from most organizations and hold us to a higher standard. But this time we failed to listen, to engage, and to be guided by our community.
While painful, the events of the last week show exactly why we need the web. So all of us can engage freely in the tough conversations we need to make the world better.
We need to put our focus back on protecting that Web. And doing so in a way that will make you proud to support Mozilla.
What's next for Mozilla's leadership is still being discussed. We want to be open about where we are in deciding the future of the organization and will have more information next week. However, our mission will always be to make the Web more open so that humanity is stronger, more inclusive and more just: that's what it means to protect the open Web.
We will emerge from this with a renewed understanding and humility -- our large, global, and diverse community is what makes Mozilla special, and what will help us fulfill our mission. We are stronger with you involved.
Thank you for sticking with us.
Written by: James Delahunty @ 3 Apr 2014 19:19