Furor over gay rights

By The Associated Press via npr.org   Article

Mozilla CEO Resigns After Furor Over Gay Rights

“Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich is stepping down as CEO and leaving the company following protests over his support of a gay marriage ban in California. … At issue was Eich’s $1,000 donation in 2008 to the campaign to pass California’s Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that outlawed same-sex marriages. …

Eich’s contribution had drawn negative attention in the past but took on more weight when he was named CEO. Mozilla employees and users criticized the move on Twitter and elsewhere online. …

The departure raises questions about how far corporate leaders are allowed to go in expressing their political views. …

The onus is also on the corporation and its board to assess whether anything that a candidate has done or said in the past will adversely affect the company’s reputation, said Microsoft Corp. Chairman John Thompson, who led a five-month search that culminated in Microsoft hiring Satya Nadella as its new CEO in February.

‘When you run a public company or any visible organization, what you think and what you say is always going to affect the company,’ said Thompson, ‘You have to be mindful of how things you do and say will affect your customers, your employees and your investors.’

Eich said in a statement Thursday that Mozilla’s mission is ‘bigger than any one of us, and under the present circumstances, I cannot be an effective leader.’

Mozilla chairwoman Mitchell Baker apologized for the company’s actions in an open letter online Thursday, saying that Eich is stepping down for the company’s sake. … She said that Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech and that ‘figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard.’ “

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