Some facts about the now resigned Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich. As an individual, Eich donated $1,000 in support of Prop 8. It was not made on behalf or a part of Mozilla. Eich made the choice himself to step down from his position as CEO only two weeks after his promotion, and while many celebrate that social and public outcry was swift and effective, many are wondering what kind of slippery slope this could mean.
Was this man pressured to step down because he exercised his right to free speech? While personally I support gay marriage, sometimes the concept of ‘free speech’ can be difficult for some people to understand. That sometimes we have to defend the rights of those who take a position we might not agree with. But it’s also very clear that the right to free speech does not make you immune to public pressure or outcry.
A CEO is the main face of the company and drives a huge amount of control over how the company behaves and treats its employees; it may not bode well for LGBT employees there to have protections stripped away if the new CEO doesn’t want them.
However in this case, rather than ‘voicing an opinion’ he attempted to have his opinion legislated and to deny other people rights. If ‘the gays win’ nobody is forced to get gay-married, but if he had his way loving couples would be denied equal protection under the law. It’s a bit subtler than ‘unpopular opinion’ and a bit more ‘tried to actively control the lives of strangers’. At the very least him picking the fight of meddling in the lives of others has opened him up to others speaking about him.