Let us first join with our supporters in saying to you: How dare you? You are telling this company to fire our capable CEO, Brendan Eich, because you do not agree with his decision to support a traditional view of marriage as consisting of a man and a woman. When this donation was first brought to light, Mr Eich made a public statement to those who attacked him, challenging them to find just one “incident where I displayed hatred, or ever treated someone less than respectfully because of group affinity or individual identity.” This challenge was never met. Any implication from you or anyone else that his not agreeing with you makes him a bad or lesser person runs contrary to the sort of accepting, welcoming and safe environment that we believe in promoting.
Why would you even imagine that we would treat Mr Eich in this way because of your views about his stance on marriage? We are writing to you now to say as clearly and loudly as possible that this is not going to happen. Whether all of us here at Mozilla agree with Mr Eich’s views or not, he has every right to hold and express them without fear of persecution from us. At Mozilla we have a rich diversity of people, and we celebrate that fact. In a true irony, if we were to cave in to your demands, you might have the gall to make an announcement claiming that “Mozilla’s strong statement in favor of equality today reflects where corporate America is: inclusive, safe, and welcoming to all.” Of course, you would be doing that in spite of the fact that we just folded like house of cards and made ourselves an unsafe, non-inclusive and certainly not a welcoming environment. In a truly sinister twist right out of the pages of 1984, you might even then hope for us to apologise for ever accommodating a person like this with a job in the first place. It is especially sad that those who spoke for you believe they are actually setting an example of what inclusiveness, respect and equality looks like. But this is not what inclusiveness, respect and equality looks like. There are organisations and media outlets encouraging people to seek the victory of having people lose their jobs for not thinking like them. This a far cry from respectful and inclusive.
Part of valuing inclusiveness and creating a safe and welcoming place means that you need to be tolerant. Tolerance means that although you do not agree with somebody, and although it might be in your power to hurt, disadvantage or stir up hatred for them, and even though you might want to hurt or disadvantage them, you choose not to do so and you certainly do not call for others to do so. We value tolerance, and it is disappointing that GLAAD does not. The leadership of Mozilla hopes for a world where people do not face hate, stigma and material suffering because of their race, religion, creed, gender or sexual orientation. Although it is ironic that GLAAD does not appear to want these things, we hope that we can lead by example.
We have far too much courage and conviction to cave into bullying, and we would never take part in it in the manner you are calling for. With respect, you should be ashamed.
Hoping that you have a more tolerant future
PS: Long-time gay activist Andrew Sullivan‘s thoughts on this are worth hearing.
PPS: In an earlier version of this letter, I mentioned that the existence of the donation was only discovered because it was leaked by the IRS. Although this claim was being widely circulated at the time, it turns out not to have been true. The donation is a matter of public record.
- Mozilla vs the open society
- Free speech and the crusade against Brendan Eich
- Equality in a nutshell
- Wolterstorff and Peoples on Rawls – It has a nice ring to it, no?
- Easter (and the real Gethsemane)
- When "anti-competitive" behaviour is wrong and when it's right