Mozilla boss Brendan Eich resigns after gay marriage storm

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Brendan EichImage source, MOzilla
Image caption,
Brendan Eich is well known for creating the Javascript scripting language

The chief executive of Mozilla - the company best known for its Firefox browser - has stepped down.

Brendan Eich was appointed just last month but came in for heavy criticism for his views on same-sex marriage.

Mozilla's executive chairwoman Mitchell Baker announced the decision in a blog post.

"Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn't live up to it," she wrote.

"We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it's because we haven't stayed true to ourselves.

Media caption,

Rory Cellan-Jones speaks to Mozilla app developer Hampton Caitlin, who has now ended his business with the firm.

"We didn't act like you'd expect Mozilla to act. We didn't move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We're sorry. We must do better."

Mr Eich has also stepped down from the board of the Mozilla Foundation, the non-profit organisation which owns the for-profit Mozilla Corporation.

Angry users

Mr Eich, who co-founded Mozilla and was also the creator of the JavaScript scripting language, made a $1,000 (£600) donation in 2008 in support of Californian anti-gay marriage law Proposition 8.

Although it was initially passed, it was later overturned by the US Supreme Court in 2013.

When the announcement of Mr Eich's appointment was made on 24 March, angry users voiced their opinions on social media. Several high-profile Mozilla employees also weighed in. Three board members also recently resigned - but Mozilla said the events were not linked to Mr Eich.

"The three board members ended their terms before Brendan was publicly announced as CEO for a variety of reasons," Mozilla said in a statement.

"Two had been planning to leave for some time, one since January and one explicitly at the end of the CEO search, regardless of the person selected."

Image source, Mozilla
Image caption,
The announcement was made by Mitchell Baker, Mozilla's executive chairwoman

But the most damaging act of protest came via dating website OkCupid.

Users who went to the site using Mozilla's Firefox browser were greeted with a message that read: "Hello there, Mozilla Firefox user. Pardon this interruption of your OkCupid experience.

"Mozilla's new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples. We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid."

Mozilla initially defended Mr Eich's appointment, but Ms Baker's blog post announcing the chief executive's departure made apologies for doing so.

"We failed to listen, to engage, and to be guided by our community," she wrote.

She added that any potential replacement for Mr Eich was still being discussed, and that more details would be announced next week.

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