The newly installed CEO of Mozilla has chosen to step down following protests against him for his support of an anti-gay marriage law that had ignited the Internet over the past week.
Brendan Eich, who had been promoted to lead the company just last week, made the decision “for Mozilla and our community,” Mitchell Baker, the company chairwoman, announced in a blog post Thursday.
Eich’s promotion led to a flurry of online protests and even consternation from some Mozilla employees who had asked him to step down. On Monday, online dating site OkCupid essentially blocked Mozilla’s popular Firefox Web browser due to Eich’s stance on gay rights. OkCupid began greeting users who visited the mingling site with an open letter lambasting Eich for donating $1,000 to support a 2008 California measure to ban same-sex marriage, and wishing Mozilla “nothing but failure.”
Eich, in response, wrote a blog post in which he promised that Mozilla would be “a place that includes and supports everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, economic status, or religion.” He gave no indication then he planned to resign.
But the public scrutiny proved too much for the Mountain View, Calif.-based company, whose open-source Firefox browser boasts hundreds of millions of users worldwide.
“While painful, the events of the last week show exactly why we need the Web,” Baker wrote. “So all of us can engage freely in the tough conversations we need to make the world better.”
Baker did not say who would replace Eich and only offered that “leadership is still being discussed.”
Following the announcement of Eich’s resignation, John Lilly, a former chief executive at Mozilla, said on Twitter: