|Mozilla CEO - Brendan Eich - OkCupid.com|
Recently, the dating website OkCupid played a role in bringing down one of the internet's most powerful CEO's, Mozilla's Brendan Eich.
Mozilla announced Eich's resignation via a blog post. They explained that their organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness, but Eich's support of Proposition 8 did not match their views. Mozilla noted that Eich made the decision to resign on his own, "for Mozilla and our community."
He had only been in the position for two weeks, as he was just named CEO on March 24. Eich was felled because he once donated money to support Proposition 8, the California measure that worked to ban same-sex marriages. Eich donated $1,000 in 2008, and today says he is not sorry that he did.
Eich’s support for Proposition 8 became public immediately after he took the helm of Mozilla, and the public's reaction was swift. Soon, it was evident that Mozilla was facing the backlash.
How did it happen? As stated previously, the online dating website, OkCupid was instrumental in his resignation. OkCupid published an open letter that was visible only to its clients who visited the site via Firefox. It called out Eich, and explained that clients would not be able to use Mozilla to access their website.
OkCupid was not the only company to show their support of gay rights, and their opinion that Eich should step down or let Mozilla face the public's scrutiny. Backlash on Twitter drew Mozilla's notice, too, as did outrage from Mozilla's employees. This is a perfect oppurtunity for a big brand to leverage a Crisis PR Firm - to help mitigate any damages done to brand reputation.
While this is not the norm--asking CEO's to step down due to their lack of support of gay rights, it may help to create a real dialogue among corporations about whether their board's personal beliefs should in any way affect their hiring choices.