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Bring Out Your Pitchforks

Jim Burroway

April 8th, 2014

Mother Jones reports that OKCupid CEO Sam Yagen donated $500 an anti-gay Utah GOP Congressman’s election campaign:

OkCupid’s co-founder and CEO Sam Yagan once donated to an anti-gay candidate. (Yagan is also CEO of Match.com.) Specifically, Yagan donated $500 to Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah) in 2004, reports Uncrunched. During his time as congressman from 1997 to 2009, Cannon voted for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, against a ban on sexual-orientation based job discrimination, and for prohibition of gay adoptions.

…Of course, it’s been a decade since Yagan’s donation to Cannon, and a decade or more since many of Cannon’s votes on gay rights. It’s possible that Cannon’s opinions have shifted, or maybe his votes were more politics than ideology; a tactic by the Mormon Rep. to satisfy his Utah constituency. It’s also quite possible that Yagan’s politics have changed since 2004: He donated to Barack Obama’s campaign in 2007 and 2008. Perhaps even Firefox’s Eich has rethought LGBT equality since his 2008 donation. But OkCupid didn’t include any such nuance in its take-down of Firefox. Combine that with the fact that the company helped force out one tech CEO for something its own CEO also did, and its action last week starts to look more like a PR stunt than an impassioned act of protest.

Comments

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Paul Douglas
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

I think you’re reaching a little bit here Jim. It is clear Eich was and is unwilling to say he isn’t still, opposed to marriage equality. It may be that Chris Cannon’s votes against our community were not the specific driver for Yagan’s contributions, but it certainly is a question that should be asked and I’m glad you are asking it. I’m not sure we have enough information to make a judgment yet but if some is forthcoming, inquiring minds want to know.

John
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

No one has had “pitchforks” out for Eich. You must have been reading too many of the NOM trollers’ posts. We, along with many others, exercised our free speech rights and Eich realized that he could not be an effective CEO of Mozilla and thus resigned.

As far as Cannon, he seems to be an unscrupulous opportunist, who sparked the outrage against Eich as a publicity stunt.

If that is so, it neither changes the fact that Eich was unsuitable as CEO of Mozilla and confirms what many of us have been saying for days: there was no gay mafia that orchestrated the downfall of Eich, which in any event could have easily been circumvented by Eich himself.

StraightGrandmother
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

I dunno, there is something different about supporting a political candidate and specifically funding anti gay organizations and campaigns.

There is something different about contributing to a right wing candidate than to making contributions directly to NOM.

One really IS Political Speech, and the other is simply funding anti Civil Rights campaigns and organizations.

I think there is a little bit of difference here. It becomes a bit granular based on WHO the Political Candidate IS who you support, I’ll agree to that.

Interesting Headline there for the article Jim.

esurience
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

Yawn. Is this supposed to be the equivalent to donating to a measure that served no other purpose than denying gay people equality under the law?

Because it’s not.

And even though there is fault to find in this donation, we’re allowed to pick our battles strategically. As Nate Silver showed:

http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/how-rare-are-anti-gay-marriage-donations-in-silicon-valley/

Only 17% for Silicon Valley employees donated for Prop8.

That puts Eich in a fringe minority within the community that he is supposed to be a leader of.

One of the more intelligent arguments against the pressuring of Mozilla to remove Eich is that — for purely practical and strategic reasons — society is not yet at a place where we can treat opposition to marriage equality as, say, white supremacy.

But that’s only true for America as a whole. Once you start looking at specific sections of it, like Silicon Valley, people like Eich really are a tiny fringe.

And since when is social punishment for immoral and fringe views wrong? This kind of thing happens all the time.

I imagine Mel Gibson doesn’t get as many movie offers since he starting ranting about jews and black people, are you going to protest the movie companies that aren’t putting him in films?

SharonB
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

Sorry Jim, this article seems a bit of a troll to me. OKCupid is very gay friendly, as is Match. The article makes no mention of other possible pro-LGBT rights moves by Yagen; and, there may be other legit reasons why he supported Cannon. Not the first time someone held their nose and voted for someone. Also, did he give any money to pro-LGBT candidates?
And, supporting a candidate who has made anti-LGBT moves, is not the equivalent of supporting an actual sole-purpose anti-LGBT organization or initiative.

Not impressed. You can do bettah!

Priya Lynn
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

Esurience said “society is not yet at a place where we can treat opposition to marriage equality as, say, white supremacy.”.

Speak for yourself. I have a moral obligation to treat them the same way and so does anyone who considers themselves my friend.

Priya Lynn
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

I can and I will treat opposition to marriage equality the same as white supremacy.

If everyone believed you couldn’t do that there’d never be a time when we could treat them the same. Racial minorities didn’t win equality by pretending opposition to it was principled and polite.

StraightGrandmother
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

A bit more. IF you are contributing to the Political Campaign of that black guy in Florida, Alan West (? is that his name) I dunno, I think I would use Social Media to call you out on that.

This former Congressman in Utah that Yagan donated to, it depends much more than just his voting record. It depends (like Alan West in Florida) what his main political platform was/is. Is all the anti gay stuff just part of his platform or was it the MAIN Platform overshadowing every other issue? It depends.

Contributing to Pat Buchanan with his anti Semitic and racists statements, WOW!

The Lauderdale
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

“[OKCupid's] action last week starts to look more like a PR stunt than an impassioned act of protest.”

I actually said as much in response to your previous post about Eich, while saying that I thought the response within Mozilla itself made sense.

(Although, I did not add that I have a membership with OKCupid, so that’s a bit two-faced on my part – calling them smug and self-aggrandizing without acknowledging that, by the way, I use their service. Rectified now.)

Lord_Byron
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

It was clear from the beginning that OKcupid was using this as a publicity stunt, but there is a difference between donating money to a candidate, don’t know if said candidate ran on anti-gay ideas, and donating money to prop 8. Having said that this was not mob mentality and this was started by employees at mozilla not wanting Eich as CEO.

Timothy Kincaid
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

But but but but this is different because ummm it’s totally different!! And and and ummm but but, cuz OKCupid is good and Eich is bad, you see!! And the right wingers and you’re a tool of oppression and you’re shilling!!

;)

(And didn’t some in our community almost come unhinged when Target gave campaign contributions to Tom Emmer?)

RainbowPhoenix
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

Gentlemen, you’ve built up a lot of credibility over the years. Please don’t throw it away over this.

John
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy Kincaid’s last comment seems more like his usual gibberish than a comment about anyone else. Yet I am glad that he brought up Target’s contributions to Tom Emmer, a foe of same-sex marriage and gay civil rights generally. Our protest of Target is something we should all be proud of. It reminded Target that we actually have some measure of power and that if a major corporation uses its power against us there will be a price to be paid. I think that is a healthy development. Kincaid seems to think it is something to be ashamed of.

Lord_Byron
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

Tim, there is a clear difference and while I don’t like what OKcupid did that still does not change things.

esurience
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

Great response Timothy Kincaid, very substantive. The only one stammering unable to get out any coherent thoughts is you.

Rhonda Frazier-Evans
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

I occasionally use Firefox, and never use OKCupid. That being said, there is a big difference between personally funding an amendment that ONLY takes marriage away from LGBT, personally funding a political candidate that voted against LGBT rights, and a COMPANY donating to a political candidate that is running on the anti-LGBT beliefs.

Eich donated to keep me from marrying. Target (as a company) donated to a politician who ran on the fact that he wants to exclude me from as much of America as possible.
Yagen donated to a candidate that voted against my rights, but doesn’t seem to have gone out of his way to be cruel. Since then, Yagen runs a company that is VERY LGBT-friendly, Target stopped donating to anti-LGBT politicians, and Eich refuses to discuss whether he has “evolved” on the issue of marriage.
Can you see the difference?

TampaZeke
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

Wow, Burroway is continuing to burn down the strawman that he made up. Instead of addressing all of the holes in his argument that we’ve presented him he’s spending his time building more strawmen. We didn’t have pitchforks out for Eich. We didn’t get him fired. He wasn’t fired. “Big Gay” never called for a boycott or demanded that he be fired. They didn’t even demand that he resign. But hey, who cares about facts when a shitstorm of manufactured controversy is so much more fun and gains your site so many more hits. Very, very disappointing from a person that I’ve always admired.

TampaZeke
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

Funny to see Timothy attempting to call people out for hypocrisy on this issue when he has always supported the idea that people should be able to hire who they want, fire who they want and serve who they want; except for in this case apparently.

Ben
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

Wow boy have we been hoisted by our own petard, you sure showed us Jim and Tim.

Except plenty of people who disliked Eich also disliked OKcupid’s opportunism.

Except Prop 8 and an anti gay candidate are two different issues (something Tim should especially understand since he is constantly schilling for some racist or anti gay bigot or group who might represent his financial interests)

Except plenty of people who now know this will also ask for a response from Yagen, wanting to know if he would still donate, if he is sorry he did it then, etc.

Oh yeah but other than that, it’s exactly the same. What tripe.

StraightGrandmother
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

Sam Yagan’s Statement today-

“A decade ago, I made a contribution to Representative Chris Cannon because he was the ranking Republican on the House subcommittee that oversaw the Internet and Intellectual Property, matters important to my business and our industry. I accept responsibility for not knowing where he stood on gay rights in particular; I unequivocally support marriage equality and I would not make that contribution again today. However, a contribution made to a candidate with views on hundreds of issues has no equivalence to a contribution supporting Prop 8, a single issue that has no purpose other than to affirmatively prohibit gay marriage, which I believe is a basic civil right.”

And he nails it when he says, “However, a contribution made to a candidate with views on hundreds of issues has no equivalence to a contribution supporting Prop 8, a single issue that has no purpose other than to affirmatively prohibit gay marriage”

Eich could have said, “I would not make that contribution again today” There were a lot of ways for Eich to come out from under the controversy, he CHOSE to not take them and say instead that anti gay Indonesia is a big market for Firefox too. Eich doubled down

See no pitch forks needed for Yagan.

Ray
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

But, but, but, but, but, but.

Cue up the outrage, people.

Sullivan was right. You have to beat their argument. No amount of McCarthyism is going to give us the moral high ground.

I swear. This controversy reminds me of the scene in “The Crucible” where the townspeople cheered as the first necks were snapped in the gallows. The lust for death consumed them. And as time wore on and the accusation of witchery became more and more strained, the less satisfying the hanging became and at some point the people realized they were wrong from the beginning. There is no witch here. There is disagreement and to win that fight you have to win the argument. Always.

Baker
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

“Eich could have said, ‘I would not make that contribution again today’”. That reminds me of “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

John
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

Andrew Sullivan and Jim Burroway to the contrary, there has been no McCarthyism on the part of those of us who object to the anti-gay donations of Eich. It is perfectly fine–even imperative–to point out the actions of someone working against equal rights. The topsy-turvy world is the hypocrisy of those who make a false equivalency between the lies spouted by McCarthy and our calling attention to the pain and hurt caused by Eich.

As StraightGrandmother’s post above, there is also no real equivalency between the actions of Yangle and those of Eich. And in neither case were pitchforks even remotely threatened.

Baker
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

And “there IS nothing going on between us”.

Mark F.
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

Eich was stupid not to say he was sorry about his Prop 8 donation and would never do it again, even if he wasn’t really sorry, I will say that. A brazen lie would have certainly worked to his benefit.

Baker
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

Maybe Eich doesn’t believe lying works to his benefit.

Mark F.
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

@StraightGrandmother

“I dunno, there is something different about supporting a political candidate and specifically funding anti gay organizations and campaigns.”

Is there really? Even if the candidate is notoriously anti-gay? Splitting hairs, are we not?

Gene in L.A.
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

Ray, I don’t have to “beat” any argument to be entitled to disagree in voice or in print with what someone says or does. Every case has its own peculiarities that contribute to how I approach it. I’ll second what Straight Grandmother said about this one in particular. Let’s not start eating our own for such trivial differences. Sullivan cares more about being conservative than about being gay. He’s entitled to his priorities, but so are we all.

Mark F.
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

@Baker. Why not, it would have satisfied everyone and allowed him to keep his job. You can’t prove what is in someone’s heart of hearts ever anyway.

Mark F.
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

“And in neither case were pitchforks even remotely threatened.”

Do you people understand metaphors? Jeez.

Mark F.
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

And Mc Carthy didn’t literally conduct a “witch hunt” with witches burned at the stake. He did manage to make people unemployable, which is what some people here want.

Larry
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

I think there’s value in considering a measured, high-road response to people like Brendan Eich. But the tone here on the blog rings more like a scolding broadside than a call to forgiveness. I don’t think there were any pitchforks – any official ones (national gay orgs, etc.) anyway. And to expect those who were hurt by Eich and the prop 8 crew to be suddenly magnanimous is expecting a lot. Let’s have a conversation, yes. Scolding is not how to start one though.

DN
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

I find it interesting that a blog would solicit comments (and receive over 160 thoughtful comments on this topic) and then follow up with “bring out your pitchforks.”

That implies, to me, that the BTB crew views those 160+ comments were unthinking, mob-mentality, blood-lust, out-for-vengeance stupidity posts. If that wasn’t the intention, then why use the expression, “bring out your pitchforks?” When I read through those comments, I found thoughtful arguments… Which were followed up by sniping from Kincaid and defensiveness from Rob Tisinai. And then more sniping from Kincaid today.

A great example is when SGM spent about ten (!) paragraphs explaining what she means about how she wants free speech to be chilled by new social mores that say being anti-gay is out-of-bounds… which Kincaid follows up with an exceedingly pathetic accusation that she’s some sort of totalitarian (“Perhaps you meant another term. Or perhaps not.”) That snide “or perhaps not” is unmistakable.

This, despite the fact that SGM spent all those paragraphs explaining what she meant! Sophistry, thy name is Timothy Kincaid.

Meanwhile, a great number of commeters have pointed out that the Eich controversy was about a married couple not wanting to develop for their platform, OKCupid making clear there are other options (and thanks, SGM for your comment above that Kincaid et al have completely ignored), and a bunch of pissed off employees. Yet the BTB crew refuses to respond to those points.

So I ask, what’s the point of having a comments section if all the authors are going to do is snipe at their readers? What an outright sh****y way to treat the people who visit your site, guys.

Baker
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

Mark F, it’s not satisfying BECAUSE “you can’t prove what is in someone’s heart of hearts”. Again, “I would not make that contribution again today” reminds me of “I did not have sexual relations with that woman”. Likewise, “I did not know where he stood on gay rights in particular” is not satisfying. It’s written in weaselese.

StraightGrandmother
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

I am not a US Senator pulling Eich in before a Senate panel with the United States Justice Department breathing down Eich’s back.

I am a Civil Rights Activist, just a little old grandmother, me and my keyboard, not a member of any gay rights organization. I encourage the use of Freemarket Social Media and Social Pressure to advance the cause of Equal Civil Rights for Sexual Minorities. You may differ with me, but you may NOT call me Joseph McCarthy. Unless Joseph McCarthy worked off his living room sofa with a can of orange pop, we are not remotely similar in power.

TampaZeke
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

@Baker, “Maybe Eich doesn’t believe lying works to his benefit.”

Yeah, he prefers to give money to other people to do his lying for him instead. The Pro Prop 8 campaign that Eich helped to fund was almost entirely built upon lies.

TampaZeke
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

@Larry, usually forgiveness and calls for forgiveness come AFTER the person at the very least gives some indication of remorse and/or asks for forgiveness. It almost never comes when the person doubles down or makes it clear that he doesn’t think he did anything wrong.

A.M.
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

I had pitchforks out and positively blazing for Eich and I’m not going to apologize for it. The comparison drawn between Eich and Yagan is false. Yagan donated to a candidate, not a singular issue. Furthermore, Yagan has apologized.

When people come to take away or prevent the acquisition of your civil equality, it is not a game of patty cake. It strikes at the very core of our place in society and we have a right to defend ourselves.

Did Eich understand that a donation to support Prop 8. is sanctioning and abating a centuries long social war against a real invisible minority?

Probably not.

Could he expect that such an action would come back to haunt him in the future?

Unlikely.

After all such views in 2008 were hardly uncommon enough to expect any sort of mass social retaliation on the subject.

So surely then Eich should be immune to economic feedback on the subject? After all Alabama kept its anti-miscegenation laws on the books for over 30 years after Loving v. Virginia. Politicians obviously suffered no immediate blowback on that issue.

So then… should we doom ourselves to follow the script of the past? Will it be 2047 before we can browse the internet without economically supporting a cause to remove us from society?

I personally do not want to wait that long.

Just because our opponents do not deign their actions to be contributing to a war on our very beings does not mean we should not evaluate them as doing exactly such.

Do not forget or doubt the moral high ground we occupy. It is our youth that are shamed into suicide. It is our people that are targeted for violence. It is our civil rights that are at stake. No one is causing or advocating for the reverse. Eich’s donation in favor of continuing LGBT oppression was however was exactly just that. Personal economic feedback against those who would take the world from us is justifiably fair game.

Baker
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

TampaZeke, it seems to me that most people do not consider their own beliefs to be lies or wrong.

StraightGrandmother
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

IF BTB doesn’t agree with my recent comments on BTB you’ll prolly roll over if you read my comment on Good As You where I really got warmed up. A snippit-

I was one who participated in the protesting against Brendan Eich. Between tweets and re-tweets over the course of 2 weeks maybe a couple dozen. I do not accept that a person who donates to an organization to take away Civil Rights for Sexual Minorities (California Supreme Court had ruled FOR Gay Marriage) is fit to lead a major company, or any company. We would not accept a segregationist nor an anti Semite in the corporate corner office, and we should not accept anybody who is anti gay Civil Rights either. What are these people who fight to deny sexual minorities equal Civil Rights? They are segregationists aren’t they? They want to segregate you under the Law to have separate, to NO Government recognition and protection for your families. They want to segregate you out under the Law based on your Status as a Sexual Minority.

As a refresher to remind you what segregation is I included the 1992 Colorado Constitutional Amendment that was overturned just in 1996 in Romer v Evans

Neither the State of Colorado, through any of its branches or departments, nor any of its agencies, political subdivisions, municipalities or school districts, shall enact, adopt or enforce any statute, regulation, ordinance or policy whereby homosexual, lesbian or bisexual orientation, conduct, practices or relationships shall constitute or otherwise be the basis of or entitle any person or class of persons to have or claim any minority status, quota preferences,
protected status or claim of discrimination. This Section of the Constitution shall be in all respects self-executing.

http://www.goodasyou.org/good_as_you/2014/04/noms-thomas-peters-called-us-forces-of-evil-and-much-morebut-were-the-ones-damaging-discourse.html#comments

A.M.
April 8th, 2014 | LINK

Correction to my post as it’s too awful to let stand.

Abetting*

Merv
April 9th, 2014 | LINK

The analogies with McCarthyism and witch hunts are inapt. Implicit in both those examples is the innocence of those being attacked. There was no question that Eich donated to an effort to enshrine discrimination against gay people in the California constitution. The only real disagreement is whether the response was appropriate, excessive, or perhaps tactically inadvisable.

Neil
April 9th, 2014 | LINK

Has Box Turtle Bulletin suddenly turned to Breitbart and NOM as its credible news sources?

Numerous responses to the last post on the Eich issue pointed out, and any reasonable observer of how things went down would see for themselves, that gay rights organisations weren’t involved in the matter. Right wing anti-gay groups ignored that and tried to paint the whole deal as intimidation by a gay mafia.

It plays into their usual paranoid nonsense about gays being a threat to society.

Speaking personally, as a user of Firefox, I was never going to discontinue my use of Mozilla services even if Eich had remained. I don’t really see a problem, however, with individuals voicing their concerns. It seems the voices that mattered were Mozilla staff and software developers in Silicon Valley. I don’t know if these people are gay or not.

It sickens me to see this blog, which I respect, abuse its readership in this way by characterising us all as unreasoning wielders of pitchforks. Worse, the tone seems very similar to the offensive generalisations of the anti-gay set with its unexamined assumption that gays are some hive-minded mob, threatening the good order of the town and country.

Stephen
April 9th, 2014 | LINK

What a very peculiar headline. And how strange that the three writers here seem to have so little respect for their readers. As others have pointed out, no one around here was behaving in a mob-like manner. Many commenters made very good points only to find themselves sneered at. I’m reminded of the time comments addressing Thomas Peters’s accident were deleted. If Mr Burroway doesn’t trust us then why not close this blog and go subscribe to Andrew Sullivan’s blog instead?

We now see the right-wing going after Mozilla in a way that gay rights organizations never did, calling for boycotts, etc. They are now actually doing what it seems that Mr. Burroway imagines we did.

John
April 9th, 2014 | LINK

I have been a longtime reader of BTB and appreciate some of the original reporting done here, especially in regard to the Sissy Boy Syndrome and Uganda.

However, these recent posts accusing your readers of McCarthyism is beyond the pale. I am deeply disappointed in the apparent inability of Burroway, Kincaid, and Tisaini to actually comprehend what McCarthyism actually is and how different it is from our protesting the donation against our civil rights by Brendan Eich and Target et al.

I don’t think I will rely on BTB in the future.

Jim Burroway
April 9th, 2014 | LINK

It would be nice if people would actually critique what I wrote rather than what their imaginations tell them that I wrote. I have never accused anyone of McCarthyism, and neither Timothy nor Rob brought that subject up either. For my part, I would consider that an unhelpful and inaccurate metaphor to describe what’s happening. I do think there is something of a mob mentality/group think whose swift momentum is keeping people from thinking about some of the implications for this in terms of what kind of a society we want to build now and in the future. I will have a more comprehensive response to some of the criticisms brought up. But given that I also have a full-time job, it may have to wait a few days.

CPT_Doom
April 9th, 2014 | LINK

@Mark F – Eich didn’t have to lie to argue that his contribution was irrelevant to his ability to perform as CEO, but he did have to address the controversy much better than he did. Had he said “my religious views are such that I believe marriage should be reserved for one man and one woman. Following those views I donated money to the Prop 8 campaign, but realize now that the arguments made by that campaign, and financed by my donation, were hurtful attacks on innocent people, and I regret that donation. My personal feelings aside, I understand that same-sex couples now have equal rights to all other married couples, and I will treat those couples – whether employees or friends – equally to all other legally married couples” he might actually have been able to weather the storm.

It is also interesting that Yagen’s employees do not seem to be protesting him the way Eich’s employees did. For the “pitchforks” that came out to oppose Eich as CEO (but not as CTO of the same organization, which was his position when his donation was revealed) were being held by the very people who worked with him on a day-to-day basis. That speaks volumes to me.

And in contrast to the actions of the anti-gay right, no gay groups are calling for the firing of all “traditional marriage” supporters, or of all those who voted for anti-gay hate amendments, or even all those who donated to those amendment campaigns.

zyronife
April 9th, 2014 | LINK

“Bring Out Your Pitchforks”? If your goal was to antagonize and condescend to your readers, then congratulations, you succeeded.

RainbowPhoenix
April 9th, 2014 | LINK

When you post your rebuttal, do your best to avoid looking like you’re throwing a tantrum because the number of people hear that bought your original argument can be counted on one hand.

Baker
April 9th, 2014 | LINK

CPT_Doom, you say it’s interesting that his employees do not seem to be protesting him, but he’s not a newly appointed CEO, and his company and the employees thereof are also perhaps considerably different. Nevertheless, according to Mozilla, “tweets calling for Brendan’s resignation were widely reported in the media [but] came from only a tiny number of people: less than 10 of Mozilla’s employee pool of 1,000.” And rather than “the pitchforks that came out to oppose Eich as CEO were being held by the very people who worked with him on a day-to-day basis”, the company says “None of the employees in question were in Brendan’s reporting chain or knew Brendan personally.”

Also, had he said as you suggest that “the arguments made by the pro-Prop 8 campaign were hurtful attacks on innocent people,” that would enflame and not at all satisfy the supporters of Prop 8. Frankly, the pro-Prop 8 campaign made a number of arguments, including arguments that have already been proven true. Here is one of their arguments from the Prop 8 campaign at the time that speaks to this very issue today: “Based on past experience, those who oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds will be increasingly labeled as intolerant and subjected to legal penalties or social ridicule… Some who support traditional marriage are having their careers threatened.”

Nick
April 9th, 2014 | LINK

Last one out, please turn off the lights.

chiMaxx
April 9th, 2014 | LINK

And now Yagen has apologized, said he was unaware of the candidates stance, said he would not support such a candidate again, and said he sees same-sex marriage as a “basic civil right”–all things Eich refused to do.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/08/okcupid-anti-gay-candidate_n_5110655.html

Neon Genesis
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

So what’s the point of this neenerneenerneener rant? That gays are evil bigoted hypocrites and Christians are all pure and righteous and BTB is now vindicated for defending the Mozilla guy? Is that the purpose of this post?

Neon Genesis
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

And what about all the same Christians who are complaining about the Mozilla protest that also protested World Vision after they decided to allow gay couples to work at their charity? I guess it’s only hypocripsy when gays do it according to BTB.

Jim Burroway
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Neon Genesis, I really wish you would discuss what I wrote, and not what you imagine what I wrote. Let me spell it out for you one more time.

We say that LGBT people shouldn’t be fired for something that has nothing to do with their job performance. I think that principle is good enough to apply to everyone, including Eich. And there is no evidence that I can find that his donation affected his ability to do the job he was hired to do. Eich made his donation out of his own pocket. He didn’t do it on behalf of Mozilla, he didn’t do it with Mozilla funds or through a foundation sponsored by Mozilla. And he certainly didn’t own Mozilla, which is a non-profit organization. It was his own dime on his own time.

What Eich did had nothing whatsoever to do with Mozilla. If Eich had changed Mozilla’s workplace policies or began discriminating against Mozilla employees in his capacity as CEO (or had done so in his capacity as CTO), the conversation would be completely different.

What World Vision did directly impacted those they would hire or allow to work for World Vision as a matter of World Vision policy. That’s a world of difference.

It’s the difference between demanding that someone be fired for something that had nothing to do with their job, and demanding someone be fired because of what they did as part of their job.

Neon Genesis
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

What about the gay employees at Mozilla who may have wanted to get married until Prop 8 banned them from doing so? Were they not discriminated against by Eich’s actions? If this was about Eich donating to the KKK, this wouldn’t even be up for debate, but since this is about gays, for some reason we’re expected to roll over and defend these people in the name of freeze peach. The Religious Right has always accused us of bullies and will always accuse us of being bullies no matter what we do or react but we don’t need our own allies trying to hold us back or telling us to slow down. This also isn’t the first time BTB has defended right wing bigots in the name of freeze peach. I recall you guys chastising the meanie gays for complaining about the Duck Dynasty controversy too.

Jim Burroway
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

You recall wrongly. Again, you should focus on what we write and not on what your imagination says that we write.

Neil
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Jim, he wasn’t fired because of views he held. His donations to Prop 8 were known about since 2012 . It didn’t result in his sacking when that transpired.

If an employee is fired simply for the views they hold and causes they donate to, that would indeed be outrageous.

But you’re ignoring that the position he was pressured into resigning was CEO, a position to which he’d been elevated from within the organisation. And the Mozilla board was happy for him to stay with the company in another role. He wasn’t kicked out.

In a way, I agree with you. It does seem wrong for him to step down. Objectively, it looked as if he had every respect for the company’s policy on diversity and acceptance. Nothing was going to change materially on that front. But his handling of the controversy left many in doubt about his attitudes. There was a loss of confidence in him as the prospective Mozilla CEO. It must’ve come across somehow as making his appointment untenable.

I was surprised he didn’t just ride out the controversy. I don’t get why a bunch of tweets, a petition and a boycott called by a dating website had so much influence. I’m left guessing where the real influence came from. Now we have the usual culture warrior suspects calling for boycotts. It seems Mozilla are damned whatever they do on this.

Jim Burroway
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Neil,

But you’re ignoring that the position he was pressured into resigning was CEO, a position to which he’d been elevated from within the organisation. And the Mozilla board was happy for him to stay with the company in another role. He wasn’t kicked out.

Are you happy then that someone can be demoted for something perfectly legal in exercising a freedom that you and I enjoy they did that had nothing to do with their job? I think I would have found that unacceptable if it were me being pressured to step down.

As for whether it matters that the position was that of a CEO, I addressed that in this comment in another thread.

http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2014/04/10/63898#comment-356616

I agree, he shouldn’t have stepped down. What none of us know for sure is what led him to make that decision. He really may not have been given a choice. Mozilla we certainly in a no-win situation. While I strongly believe that no person should be fired for something they did outside their job, it’s a completely different question when you are hiring or promoting someone to such a sensitive position. You really have to ask why is it that the folks who decided to elevate him to CEO aren’t taking responsibility?

Neon Genesis
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Jim, you still haven’t addressed the point about what if Eich had donated money to the KKK or a similar racist group? Would you still defend his “rights?” Having the right to a job doesn’t mean you have the right to be a CEO.

Jim Burroway
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

He didn’t give to a KKK or similar racist group. That is a false equivalence. He gave to a political action committee, just like I did. His side won, but it is losing now. My side lost, but it is winning now.

I never said he had a right to be a CEO. No one has a right to be CEO. Once again, you keep wanting to put words in my mouth that I never said. I really wish you would stop doing that.

What I said that no one deserves to be fired from their job for doing something that is not only perfectly legal, but a legitimate exercise as a U.S. citizen, and that is also not at all related to their job. If that principle applies to me, then it applies to him too.

Richard Rush
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Perhaps the people who have actually worked with Eich deserve some deference because they surely have knowledge and insights on Eich that we do not have. And perhaps the board of directors were not aware, were insensitive, or were indifferent to those people ~ any of which make them look incompetent. I don’t think any of us are in a position to know the full story.

Ben
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

“He didn’t give to a KKK or similar racist group. That is a false equivalence.”

Gonna need a massive citation on that one, with footnotes, because it’s a load of malarkey. Prop8 was absolutely and unequivocally identical to the KKK or similar hate group.

Priya Lynn
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

I agree Ben. There’s little difference between giving to the KKK (or similar racist group) and giving to a group seeking to deny gays and lesbians equal rights.

RainbowPhoenix
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

So hating black people is bad, but it’s still okay to hate gay people. And before you accuse me of putting words in your mouth, that’s pretty much the only like of thinking that can claim those two things are different.

Jim Burroway
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Well RainbowPhoenix. You did put words in my mouth.

Hating black people is bad.

Hating gay people is bad.

African-Americans hace had a long struggle against bigotry to obtain their civil rights.

Gay people have had a long struggle against bigotry to obtain their civil rights.

I have never said anything to the contrary, and certainly not anything close to the words you most certainly did put into my mouth.

But here’s the deal. George Wallace eventually decided to listen to critics of his racial bigotry, a bigotry that he build a huge career on. And after listening, he changed and apologized.

Eich said he wanted to listen to the critics of his Prop 8 donation in Mozilla, but he was not allowed the opportunity.

Jim Burroway
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Gonna need a massive citation on that one, with footnotes, because it’s a load of malarkey. Prop8 was absolutely and unequivocally identical to the KKK or similar hate group.

You need to provide the footnotes, not me. When did the Yes on 8 campaign burn people out of their homes, light crosses on their lawns, lynch people on dark country roads, bury their opponents in earthen dams, beat people on buses or shoot leaders on their driveways?

Footnotes, please.

RainbowPhoenix
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Well, given he resigned rather than being fired, what exactly stopped him from listening? Who did he reach out to for that purpose before he resigned?

And if bigotry against gays really is just as bad as bigotry against blacks, why is one roundly condemned while the other is written off as a difference of opinion? Since you don’t think the KKK comparison is legitimate, what if he had donated money to a campaign that existed exclusively to strip black people of an existing right based on lies about how they’re predators out to steal and corrupt people’s children? Would people be defending him? People can claim to think both types of hatred are bad, but I have trouble believing that when I see this double standard.

Jim Burroway
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

It’s ridiculous to think that there would be a campaign that existed solely to strip black people of their civil rights in 2014. But it’s not ridiculous to conceive of such a campaign in 1964. And if we were back in 1964, and a bigot wanted to engage in a dialogue with his African-American employees to understand better what their concerns were and to commit to addressing them, then that would have been very important step forward.

That’s a settled question today, though, so it is qualitatively different today in a way that it would not have been fifty years ago..

Today no board of directors in their right mind would have even thought of installing a CEO who gave to an anti-black campaign, as far as we know. The idea is so ludicrous that I doubt that very many boards have even bothered to check.

But on same-sex marriage, public consensus isn’t settled yet, even though it is very quickly becoming so. I beleive in ten years — and not fifty — we won’t be having this discussion.

But today, we must have this discussion, now more than ever. Yes, marriage equality supporters are in the majority, but that means that there are still 84 million Americans over 18 who oppose same sex marriage. Many of them are parents of LGBT children, whether they know it or not. And many of them are in parts of the country where SSM supporters are still in the minority. But the momentum is going our way, and the best way to keep that momentum going is to keep the conversation going, and not folding one’s arms and yelling that we shouldnt’ be having it.

We did have to have that conversation about African-American civil rights in 1964, and even in 1974. Wallace finally renounced his stand at the school house door in 1979. We need to keep that conversation going for LGBT civil rights today so we won’t have to continue to have it in the future.

RainbowPhoenix
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

That’s all well and good when we’re talking to someone that’s open to dialogue. I have not seen any indication that Eich is such a person, and I do not consider his platitudes and the same non-apology we’ve seen a million times from a million different homophobes as a reason to think that he is. If he had been fired, or claimed that he was told to resign or be fired, then I would be asking if he had been stripped of his chance to dialogue, but the first scenario simply hasn’t happened at all, while no accusation of the second has been made to my knowledge. And since he’s still with the company, that chance for dialogue should still be there. I have no interest in banging my head against the wall while people like Eich are still making us suffer.

Jim Burroway
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

I thought Eich made it extraordinarily clear that he was open to dialog, and I thought the language he used in this statement went way beyond what most people would say.

https://brendaneich.com/2014/03/inclusiveness-at-mozilla/

A number of Mozillians, including LGBT individuals and allies, have stepped forward to offer guidance and assistance in this. I cannot thank you enough, and I ask for your ongoing help to make Mozilla a place of equality and welcome for all. Here are my commitments, and here’s what you can expect:

– Active commitment to equality in everything we do, from employment to events to community-building.

—Working with LGBT communities and allies, to listen and learn what does and doesn’t make Mozilla supportive and welcoming.

—My ongoing commitment to our Community Participation Guidelines, our inclusive health benefits, our anti-discrimination policies, and the spirit that underlies all of these.

My personal commitment to work on new initiatives to reach out to those who feel excluded or who have been marginalized in ways that makes their contributing to Mozilla and to open source difficult. More on this last item below.

I know some will be skeptical about this, and that words alone will not change anything. I can only ask for your support to have the time to “show, not tell”; and in the meantime express my sorrow at having caused pain.

He wasn’t given the time to show that, now was he?

Also, he said that he was no longer a part of Mozilla. I think it’s very naive to think that he just up and decided to resign the top job just a few days after he got it, after having co-founded Mozilla sixteen years ago and dedicated all those years of his life to its success. He’s been loyal enough to Mozilla not to trash talk his leaving, and Mozilla is returning the favor. But I find it very hard to believe that after getting the top job after sixteen years that he’d just decide to walk away just cuz he didn’t want to talk to LGBT people.

RainbowPhoenix
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Well, saying that he wasn’t given a chance to show those things sort of implies that he was fired, which you claim to acknowledge was not the case.

The fact that he got the position at all rightfully cast doubt on the integrity of the company as a whole, simply because it was in such contradiction to its stated ideals. That is on top of the doubt about his personal integrity even without the internal resistance. I find it naïve to take him at his word on any of that, most of which was just the company line, especially with an “apology” that really only shifted blame to his victims for daring to feel hurt by his attack on them.

Also, did he make those claims before or after people dug up his donations to Pat Buchanan? I find it dubious that his resignation was over the backlash to his Prop 8 donation when it occurred so soon after people found the Pat Buchanan donations. I mentioned this before and I stand by it now; the Pat Buchanan donations were a big hint that there was going to be a much bigger scandal and much more bad press down the line.

Neon Genesis
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Jim, the Supreme Court just earlier this year struck down key elements of the Voting Rights Act and Rand Paul, who is the darling “moderate” voice of the GOP has proclaimed his support for repealing the entire Voting Rights Act, so it’s hardly unbelievable for there to be a scenario where blacks in modern times to lose their rights. They’re already being discriminated against in many bible belt states that have passed strident voting ID laws that are designed to prevent minorities from voting for Democrats. In any case, you’re still dodging the question and are failing to explain how it would be different if Eich donated money to the KKK other than because you say it is different which is circular logic.

Jim Burroway
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Neon Genesis,

I answered the question, and I challenged the claim that the KKK was “unequivocally identical” — Ben’s word — to the Yes on 8 campaign after pointing out the many ways that they were not at all “unequivocally identical.” I rejected the premise, and therefore my answer was not circular in any way. I answered the question by challenging it. You just don’t like the challenge.

RainbowPhoenix,

I am going to ask you one more time to stop putting words in my mouth. If you cannot respect me enough to actually repeat what I wrote when describing what I wrote, I will no longer address your objections. My only obligation is to answer to what I wrote. It is not to answer to what other people insist on claiming that I wrote.

Timothy Kincaid
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Eich lived in a state with Domestic Partnerships which were legally identical to marriage. He worked at a company that fully recognized same-sex partners. He contributed to a campaign that banned the state from recognizing and performing marriages between same-sex couples – but which did not reverse Domestic Partnerships nor limit any rights of same-sex couples (this was before the federal government recognized same-sex marriage).

His position was wrong.

But Proposition 8 was not absolutely and unequivocally identical to the KKK or similar hate group.

The world is not comprised of absolutes. Cigarettes are not identical to heroin. Cutting someone off in traffic is not identical to murdering their family.

I’ve not contributed much to this debate primarily because there seems to be no ground of commonality. Those who see Prop 8 as identical to the KKK are as foreign to my worldview as are those who believe that the world was instantaneously created 6,000 years ago. It all seems based on blind beliefs and there’s just no starting place to the conversation.

RainbowPhoenix
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

I was not putting words in your mouth, I was pointing out an inconsistency in what you are claiming and the implications in your wording that may or may not be intentional. Whether you like it or not, one’s choice of words carry implications of their own. And from what I’ve seen, your wording doesn’t match what you are saying on the surface. Since there are apparently so many people “putting words in your mouth”, I suggest that your choice of words could have something to do with that.

Also, the fact that Eich had more donations than just to Prop 8 that were highly questionable is something that needs to be addressed when trying to argue that it was the that particular donation and the resulting torches and pitchforks (your words), especially since multiple people have brought it up.

Jim Burroway
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Eich contributed to Buchanan in 1992. Sorry, I could hardly care less about what someone does that far back. That is way beyond my statute of limitations.

Eich resigned. You see to want to believe that he just woke up one morning after having the job for just a few days and decided, nah. I’m sorry, but I find that implausible in the extreme. What he said was that “under the present circumstances, I cannot be an effective leader.” And what circumstances was that?

RainbowPhoenix
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Now who’s putting words in people’s mouths? Do you really think that people were going to stop digging into his past activities? What I am pressing is the considerable likelihood that the donations to Prop 8 and Pat Buchanan were the tip of the iceberg. People were going to keep finding more, and it was going to cause a lot more bad press. Whatever pressure they may have put on him to resign, I very much doubt it was only due to pitchfork wielding gays.

Merv
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

The point of the KKK argument is not necessarily that they are the same, but to establish that there is such as thing as a financial contribution a person can make in his personal life that would reasonably disqualify him from being a CEO. Now that we’ve established that, the only question is whether a Prop 8 contribution in 2008 would similarly disqualify someone in 2014. Some people feel strongly that it should be a disqualification. Others believe that it shouldn’t disqualify someone now, but likely would at some point in the future (years? decades?). Guess what? You’re not that far apart! It’s only a question of timing.

Neil
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

As you say, Jim:

You really have to ask why is it that the folks who decided to elevate him to CEO aren’t taking responsibility?

Exactly. It does seem like a dubious decision. We’re left speculating as to what went into it.

Although:

Eich refused to be drawn on whether he would donate to a Proposition 8 style campaign again in the future. “I don’t want to do hypotheticals,” he said. “I haven’t thought about that issue and I really don’t want to speculate because it’s not relevant.”

“There’s a difference here between the company, the foundation, as an employer and an entity, versus the project and community at large, which is not under any constraints to agree on LGBT equality or any other thing that is not central to the mission or the Mozilla manifesto.”

He refused to be drawn into a discussion on his views, reiterating that he supported company policy on inclusion and respect for LGBT employees, but not more broadly in the wider social sphere. In other words, he accepted the business model for Mozilla but was keen to prevent that on a general level.

As James Ball put it in The Guardian:

Mozilla is not just another software company. Its Firefox browser relies on the goodwill and contributions of a huge community of developers and others to keep the project running, while the group serves to educate and lobby for a free and open internet: the foundation was in the thick of battles on SOPA and PIPA, and one of the first to express serious alarm over Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations.

With battles ahead on these issues and more – net neutrality perhaps biggest of all – the ability to build and maintain a diverse coalition of supporters is absolutely integral to Mozilla’s prospects. Maintaining that mission is, quite literally, the first and most important duty of its CEO.

Eich, as far as I can tell, resigned not specifically because a Prop 8 donation disqualified him, but because when this and subsequent revelations about other political donations came to light he lost the confidence of his key constituency due to the way he (miss)handled the whole business.

For the record, I reckon he was the best man for the job. But what do I know? Eich and the Mozilla board are ultimately responsible, not gay people, or people on Twitter, or Mr Yagen. I’m guessing Mozilla staff and the software development community had a lot to do with it, though, not as a form of payback but because it looked like, though brilliant in his field, Eich was shaping up as a bad choice for CEO.

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