Michaël Duerinckx


Posts Tagged ‘Human rights’

On Brendan Eich, Mozilla, and equal rights

This opinion piece is on current events, and given the slow update nature of my blog, I’ll give it some context before going forward.

It’s worth noting that I’m a complete outsider to all this; I don’t work and haven’t worked at Mozilla, and I don’t have close ties with anyone who did or does.


Brendan Eich is the inventor of JavaScript, and the co-founder of Mozilla, the company and foundation behind the popular Firefox web browser. He was the chief architect back in 1998. In 2005, he became CTO of Mozilla Corporation.

In March 2008, Eich donated $1,000 in support of California Proposition 8, which goal was to eliminate same-sex couples’ marriage rights. Under California state law, this donation became part of the public record. Donors had to list their employer, so Brendan Eich’s donation was listed under his name, with Mozilla listed as his employer.

In 2011, someone noticed that his name and “Mozilla” were on that public record, and publicized it. This apparently needed clarification, because some people must’ve thought this donation was actually backed/condoned by Mozilla. (Spoilers: It wasn’t.)

On March 24th, 2014, it was announced that Brendan was appointed the CEO position at Mozilla Corporation. The public suddenly brought up his 2008 donation again, and a media firestorm ensued. Some Mozilla Foundation employees requested Eich to step down via Twitter, and the tech press picked up on this.

Several blog posts, both by Mozilla and Eich personally, were made, clarifying that Mozilla is an inclusive and diverse company, and in full support of LGBT (and then some) equal rights. Brendan clarified that any convictions conflicting with this are always left at the door before entering the Mozilla office.

Still, the firestorm raged on. OkCupid, possibly the most popular dating website, put up a note on their homepage for all Firefox users, which ended in requesting they use a different web browser. They later took this down again, probably when they realised that the 2008 donation was private, and that Mozilla does not condone it. This blog post by Mozilla probably helped with that.

On April third, Mozilla’s blog announced that Brendan Eich stepped down as CEO. He was not pressured into this, but felt that the whole firestorm was very much a detriment to what he and Mozilla were trying to accomplish. As far as I know, he has severed all financial ties with Mozilla, remaining only the manager of a number of bits of source code.

My opinions on the donation

I believe that all humans should be able to live their lives in a way that brings them fulfilment and happiness, insofar as this does not impede on other humans’ right to the same.