The controversial appointment of gay and lesbian-hating Brendan Eich as CEO of Mozilla has provoked howls of discord within the company, and now others are beginning to weigh in on the matter, starting with the dating website OkCupid.
In a move that looks suspiciously like a well-timed PR stunt, the dating site has spoken out angrily against Eich’s appointment, asking its users not to use Mozilla’s Firefox browser when viewing their site. Eich has come under fire after it was revealed he pledged support for a controversial California state constitutional amendment that would’ve banned same-sex marriage. Now, when Firefox users browse to OkCupid, instead of seeing the login page they’re redirected to a message that urges them to switch to another browser.
Here’s OkCupid’s message in full:
“Hello there, Mozilla Firefox user. Pardon this interruption of your OkCupid experience.
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.
Politics is normally not the business of a website, and we all know there’s a lot more wrong with the world than misguided CEOs. So you might wonder why we’re asserting ourselves today. This is why: we’ve devoted the last ten years to bringing people—all people—together. 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. But it’s professionally important to the entire company. OkCupid is for creating love. Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure.
If you want to keep using Firefox, the link at the bottom will take you through to the site.
However, we urge you to consider different software for accessing OkCupid.”
The controversy over Eich stems from a $1,000 donation he made back in 2008, pledging support for California’s Proposition 8 amendment, which would have banned marriage between same sex couples in the state. Shortly after his donation was made public, Mozilla employees called for Eich to stand down from his job. Eich was promoted to CEO having previously been the foundation’s chief technology officer.
Eich’s detractors are also said to included former Mozilla directors John Lilly, Ellen Siminoff and Gary Kovacs, all of whom have just quit their positions at the foundation. However, Mozilla has denied that the trio left in protest over Eich’s appointment, saying in a statement to The Register that they left for a “variety of reasons”, some of which were planned long before Eich was named CEO.
OkCupid’s stance against Eich is probably the most stinging public backlash against Mozilla so far, and it’ll be interesting to see if anyone else follows suit. It’s a brave move considering the potential implications to its business – Firefox is currently used on about 20 percent of all desktop computers, according to NetMarketShare – a huge chunk of visitors to potentially turn away from your site. Then again, what with all the publicity OkCupid’s stunt has generated, perhaps it’ll get more than enough new visitors to compensate.
For his part, Eich doesn’t appear to want to stand down from his new job anytime soon. The CEO recently penned a blog post addressing the criticisms leveled at him, apologizing for “having caused pain”, whilst stating that he remains committed to ensuring Mozilla is “a place that includes and supports everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, economic status, or religion”.
“I’m not going to discuss Prop 8 here or on Twitter,” he wrote. “There is no point in talking with the people who are baiting, ranting, and hurling four-letter abuse. Personal hatred conveyed through curse words is neither rational nor charitable, and strong feelings on any side of an issue do not justify it.”