By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com April 03 2014 2:18 PM ET
Less than two weeks after being named CEO of the tech company he cofounded, Brendan Eich is stepping down from his role with Mozilla. Mozilla confirmed the news in a blog post Thursday afternoon.
"Brendan Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO," reads the post. "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."
Eich's appointment has been the subject of controversy after several LGBT programmers and coders highlighted that Eich donated $1,000 to California's campaign to pass now-defunct Proposition 8 in 2008 — news that was first reported by the Los Angeles Times in 2012.
In its formal announcement, Mozilla acknowledged the frustration many LGBT people and allies felt in Eich's initial appointment, and his continued reluctance to confirm whether he personally supported marriage equality.
"Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it," reads the post, authored by Mitchell Baker, executive chairwoman of the Mozilla Foundation. "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."
Just yesterday, Eich gave a lengthy interview to CNET, where he refused to address his personal opinion on same-sex marriage or LGBT equality. He did reiterate — as he had done in a personal blog post last week — his commitment to maintaining Mozilla's inclusive health care benefits and employment practices.
In response to Eich's antigay views and his refusal to disavow them, more than 70,000 people signed a petition demanding Eich's removal, and online dating site OKCupid temporarily blocked users from accessing its site using Mozilla's popular Web browser, Firefox. But by Wednesday, the site had removed the message encouraging Firefox users to access OKCupid using another browser, though the company did not respond to requests for comment about the motivation behind the change.