Re: BV on Brendan Eich. So incredibly dissapointed

I was very dissapointed in your handeling of the Brendan Eich Mozilla CEO discussion. I felt especially that Jono failed the community and was at least somewhat pleasently surprised to see Bryan get it more right.

The problem is the asymetry of it all. From so many angles. First, a team of the most privledged class, white hetero cis males (what author John Scalazi refers too as “The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is”) telling another more marginzlized group in our community to stop complaining about their civil rights issues is pretty stomach turningly hard to hear. That this one single white hetro male, while publically attacking the civil liberties of an entire community of people and trying to deny all of them rights that he and you already have, that it’s then “unfair” to interfere with his “rights” to work any job. You are telling this entire community that his right to work is more important than all their civil liberties. I felt sick listening to you all be his bigotry apologists.  Especially Jono, the so called Community man, selling out an entire segment of his community for one white hetro man’s right to be a CEO.

You all sounded so politically deaf and blind it was quite diappointing. Trying to justify his appointment based on “meritocracy”: “Well, he should be good at his job, and not bring that to it”. Where to begin with that. Ignoring the broader context as you mostly did, are you all so naitve to trust that an out bigot like that won’t bring any of it to work, in an infinite multitude of slightly most subtle and “justifiable” ways that you’ll probably apologize for?  I mean first there is just the appearance of it, it looks so wrong that half the board of Mozilla quit, that ever single non-hetro employee in the company felt it in their gut, their new boss doesn’t see them as equal. And that’s the rub. How can you have a person who clearly sees part of the community as less deserving of basic civil rights succsefully run this supposedly meritocracy based company. He claerly and demonstrably doesn’t hold that view that everyone is equal and should only be judged on their work. And then when you call out us on judging him on more than his work, the hypocracy stinks.

So let’s really get into the nitty gritty. You feebly tried to hope that he wouldn’t just start massivly discriminating against non-hetro staff and decalred as long as he didn’t do that it would be ok. That is so far from sufficent for fufilling his role it’s staggering. The societal window is shifting. As Bryan rightfully pointed out, this is a civil rights battle and I think we all know how it’s going to end given enough time. So he is on the wrong side of that. But now so is Mozilla. By contrast Google, Apple and Microsoft are all very “gay positive” giving great benifits packages and etc to their staff. But it’s more than that. As companies they are part of a broader tech community and political community in the lands they live in (city, state, country). They are all supporting gays in the communities in a multitude of ways, examples like, support at pride parades, Apple pushing back against Arizona’s new super homophobic laws. Do you think it’s in anyway surprising Microsoft’s home state now has gay marriage? I don’t, Microsoft pushed hard for it. Mozilla has been supportive in the past of the community but do you see them pushing any new windows going forward? What about likely quitely dropping some support? Maybe it won’t directly affect the staff, this new CEO hiring, but can you say it won’t have a dramatic effect on the broader community? And drop the company from a progressive leader, to at best just a quite passive member? Again I reiterate my dissapointment that “community leader” Jono missed all this.

So please again explain to me why the right of one man to have any job he wants trumps the civil rights of an entire community.  As you can see I’m not calling you homophobic as you sadly joked about on the show, I’m saying you have the ignorance of priviledge. You are blind to how discrimination works and effects others. And from your position of some influence in some communities, to hear you perpetuating it, was a bit heartbreaking, I had expected better from you.

on a more personal note, I had a very hard time listening ot that segment, my stomach was turning while you apologized and justified his behaviour and appointment. And I had a very hard time having to write this as well. Which might explain why no one else has raised this point on the forums much yet, because it’s just so difficult, personal, and you were so heartbreakingly far off base from where I’d hoped you to be that standing up to that wall of emotional bullshit might just not be worth it for others, they might rather just wave their arms in deafeat on this small battlefront and stop listening instead.

Hi @dan, thanks for the thoughtful response to the segment. We really appreciate all feedback, whether agreeing or disagreeing with any of our viewpoints.

Some thoughts below:

Especially Jono, the so called Community man, selling out an entire segment of his community for one white hetro man’s right to be a CEO.

I don’t believe I am “selling out” anyone or anything. I shared a personal viewpoint and opinion. I am not telling people to agree with me, and I am not pressuring any community I am part of to share my viewpoint. I will not discriminate against others who don’t share my viewpoint. I simply shared an opinion that you happen to disagree with.

Just because I work as a community manager doesn’t mean that I am not allowed to have an opinion or an opinion that certain members of the community disagree with.

You all sounded so politically deaf and blind it was quite diappointing. Trying to justify his appointment based on “meritocracy”: “Well, he should be good at his job, and not bring that to it”. Where to begin with that. Ignoring the broader context as you mostly did, are you all so naitve to trust that an out bigot like that won’t bring any of it to work, in an infinite multitude of slightly most subtle and “justifiable” ways that you’ll probably apologize for?

A few things here. Firstly, none of us were justifying his appointment; I don’t believe any of us advocated for him as either a good or bad CEO. We all made it very clear that we disagree with his politics too. I also don’t believe that we ignored the broader context of the situation; I felt we covered the topic fairly well.

The key point where I think we disagree is that you believe that because he personally opposed gay marriage that it will by definition bleed into his work in some way and ultimately result in a lack of equality at Mozilla.

I categorically don’t agree with this.

I have spent years working with many execs in different companies who have the full gamut of opinions. Some people agree/disagree with gay marriage, some are hardcore liberals or conservatives, some agree/disagree with national healthcare, gun control, religious freedom, reproductive rights, abortion, immigration, or whatever else you can think of. Every one of those personal perspectives and opinions touches a group of people…it might not be gay people, but it might be women, gun owners, christians, parents, the elderly, or anyone else.

I have witnessed many personal opinions shared with me on these topics from these folks but I have never seen these personal viewpoints bleed into the work that these execs do. They are professional enough to keep their own personal views seperate from their responsibility in the organization. This is the nature of professionalism and it is a critical piece of being a good leader in a company. A CEO in particular must demonstrate this seperation of personal and professional.

As an example, I hate guns. I don’t like that they exist and I don’t like the actions of the NRA or many pro-gun people. I however work with a large number of pro-gun folks. Heck, I am even related to a bunch of these folks. Does it affect my relationship with them? Do I treat them differently because of these political differences? No, not at all. We are there to do a job, and we put those differences aside.

Just because Eich opposed gay marriage does not by definition mean he will discriminate against gay people at Mozilla. I have seen no evidence of Eich’s personal character, experience, or reputation suggesting that he will treat anyone differently at Mozilla.

Of course, there are some shitty execs out there who may let their personal views bleed into their treatment of others. In those cases I believe those people should be disciplined and if appropriate, fired. The point here though, is that I don’t presume that this misconduct will happen; in fact, I think it is very unlikely.

So please again explain to me why the right of one man to have any job he wants trumps the civil rights of an entire community.

Once again, I didn’t say this. We are not suggesting people shouldn’t have civil rights, and we are not advocating anyone to have a job that trumps civil rights. What I am saying is that I don’t believe Eich is going to have any impact on the civil rights of Mozilla employees - there has been no change in company culture or rights, he has not forced his personal views on anyone, and Mitchell Baker came out to re-enforce this position.

As you can see I’m not calling you homophobic as you sadly joked about on the show, I’m saying you have the ignorance of priviledge. You are blind to how discrimination works and effects others. And from your position of some influence in some communities, to hear you perpetuating it, was a bit heartbreaking, I had expected better from you.

Nonsense. Just because I am a hetero-sexual white male doesn’t mean that I can’t understand how discrimation affects others and have empathy. I find that viewpoint nothing but condescending; it basically says that because I am who I am that my opinion will never count. Rubbish.

So because I disagree with you on this second point I was led to feel that you’d stopped representing a segment of the community. Since you feel the way you feel about the second point you don’t feel you are doing any disservice to the community and my accusation rings false to you. So there’s not much we can do there, and I do believe I came across a bit more accusatory then I meant to. Not exactly an apology, more an explanation.  That was my feelings bleeding into what I’d rather try and keep as a more fair debate.  So bad form on me perhaps.

As to the meat of the debate, weather his appointment will alter things, it seems likely internet debate won’t sway either of us, so it’s more a I guess we’ll have to wait and see kind of deal, a sad wager perhaps.

Not quite what I meant. I meant that I felt this disagreement might be in part through what I saw as possible ignorance due to circumstance. The thing about ignorance is that it’s easily curable, other circumstance might have done it automatically, but with a little effort, if it is there, you can remedy it easily. I would never say you opinion could never count or even that it doesn’t count now. Merely that I strongly disagree with it and if anything, hope it’s merely due to a potential “oversight”. Also perhaps it’s all emotionally loaded jargon for saying you don’t agree with me and this is why I feel it might be so. I felt emotional, am not the best at logically formulating arguments and internet forum boards also perhaps make suboptimal mediums for such discussions.

As evidence of this, two-thirds of your response were more to the nature of accusation I made about you. So poor form on me.
One third was about the actual debate, and you again stated clearly where we disagree at a fairly axiomatic level and there possibly isn’t much more ground in either direction to be made there.

I feel however you might have missed my more meta concerns, the asymmetry of the whole situation. That he can use his money in what we consider his private time, to work to deny civil rights to a group of people, and then come away from that all clean to a workforce the involves some of those people, and we ask them to keep their side also “clean” and out of the work force :confused:

On the other hand, as has happened since the recording, half the mozilla board of directors has quit over this, showing it also to be an incredibly politically divisive appointment that many consider to have been in bad taste, reflect poorly on mozilla, and is already in days have large real world negative consequences for the organization.

This all comes down to: he has beliefs that were strong enough that he donated money to a cause. You argue he is entitled to that. A lot of other people have very strong counter feelings and are now distancing themselves from him, and the organisation. You guys asking those people to calm down, in a sense, to me, seem to be saying those people are less entitled to their feelings and actions based on them. If Mozilla is free to appoint a public bigot to their CEO then people should be allowed to be very upset, make noise, and distance themselves from it. Basically this shouldn’t be a debate, its all about freedom. You and I both disagree with his actions, however they happened, and we wouldn’t try to disallow him from the freedom to do them. But they do have repercussions and everyone else is also allowed their feelings and actions (this time in which I am in agreement with) so this debate perhaps shouldn’t have been one. You disagree with these people a bit more perhaps but they are just as free as he is to act how they want, so there seems no point for debate. In raising any issue with the reaction here, in having an opinion on some peoples actions, you seem to be further validating their right to have an opinion on his actions.

Initially I supported the point that one’s professional life is disparate from one’s personal political views. I also consider an atheist working in a company where the CEO is religious in his or her personal life, or visa versa. As long as that is not brought into the workplace, one can’t complain. However, “political” views that specifically seek to reduce or remove other people’s freedoms are by definition, malevolent? Mozilla especially, should be led by someone who knows what “freedom” means. Opposing gay marriage rights is fighting against freedom.

I don’t mean to derail the conversation… but I want to point out my rightness here.

… Even Dan says so. :smile:

Yes. Exactly.

This doesn’t, however, mean that Mozilla is malevolent. Mozilla is an organization made up of many people with highly diverse viewpoints and styles. A conversation with Mozilla (and an open conversation among the community, such as what we are doing here) is in order.

I totally see what you’re saying there, Dan. And, in many cases, you would be right. But I think, in this case, it doesn’t really apply.

I know that I have, myself, experienced some serious problems working in a corporation where the executive was biased against people like me (in this case, my particular faith). I am quite sensitive to how the viewpoints of a CEO can negatively (and positively) impact individuals within the organization (and the community around it).

And my experience with both Jono and Jeremy tells me that these are some pretty sensitive dudes when it comes to the hardships that others – no matter how different from themselves they may be – face.

I’m sure Stuart is a good dude in that way too, but he wasn’t there for this discussion. Also he sings, naked, to AC/DC. So all bets are off.

bryanlunduke, i just wanted to say that you are awesome. Jono is pretty cool too.

@dan Not quite what I meant. I meant that I felt this disagreement might be in part through what I saw as possible ignorance due to circumstance. The thing about ignorance is that it’s easily curable, other circumstance might have done it automatically, but with a little effort, if it is there, you can remedy it easily. I would never say you opinion could never count or even that it doesn’t count now. Merely that I strongly disagree with it and if anything, hope it’s merely due to a potential “oversight”. Also perhaps it’s all emotionally loaded jargon for saying you don’t agree with me and this is why I feel it might be so. I felt emotional, am not the best at logically formulating arguments and internet forum boards also perhaps make suboptimal mediums for such discussions.

To be honest, I did feel your original post was emotionally driven. It was rather accusatory, but I understand that the segment clearly touched a nerve and we are all human and we get emotional from time to time. To be frank, I have always been of the view that emotionally driven discussion rarely furthers the discourse in the discussion as emotions don’t help any of us to make good decisions, as such I usually don’t engage on those emotionally-fuelled discussions.

This post that you have sent in response though, I feel is entirely different. It is thoughtful, focused, but unemotional. I appreciate the adjustment in tone; I think it helps us to explore where our views are shared and where they differ.

I appreciate you felt my view was maybe driven by ignorance, but this is where I find the debate rather frustrating. All three of us on the show did our homework on the segment. We researched the topic, found good source material, and put together notes to guide our discussion. I feel Bryan, Jeremy, and myself (and Stuart, even though he wasn’t on the show) are very empathetic, pro-diversity people who are not socially ignorant to others. I felt we were well equipped with the facts to have a good discussion but we simply drew our conclusions in the topic from different angles and viewpoints. I would not label this as being “ignorant”, just differing in viewpoints.

@dan I feel however you might have missed my more meta concerns, the asymmetry of the whole situation. That he can use his money in what we consider his private time, to work to deny civil rights to a group of people, and then come away from that all clean to a workforce the involves some of those people, and we ask them to keep their side also “clean” and out of the work force :confused:

Much as I condemn his politics, I do believe this is his right. If he wants to contribute $$$ to any political fund he chooses and that contribution doesn’t affect his objectivity at work, then so be it. I believe that everyone has the right to seperate their work and personal lives in this way.

As a pithy but I think some-what applicable example, I love BBQ and I spent my weekends smoking ribs, pork, brisket, and anything else. It is entirely conceivable that as a manager my love of BBQ could make vegetarians in my company feel uncomfortable, particularly those who report to me. For those veggies who see eating animals as an immoral act, they could see me in a dim light and worry that I might treat them differently due to these differences. If we banish people from companies for one thing (e.g. people who oppose gay marriage), where do we draw the line? What do we consider to be an “ethical” objection? This isn’t easy as everyone has a different sense of what ethics is.

Holy balls, did anyone else see https://www.okcupid.com/ in Firefox? Wow!

Right? I’m telling you man… this is going to end very, very badly for Mozilla. They need to get on top of this stat or it isn’t going to be an easy thing to recover from.

I suspect this OKCupid thing is an outlier as opposed to a norm.

1 Like

I dunno, duder. As they saying goes…

“As goes OKCupid, so goes the world.”

This.

[tum te tum, post-padding goes here]

I would like to weigh in here as well. Full disclosure, I am black, and there was major discrimination, segregation, etc within my lifetime. Now having said that, I have felt discrimination, and so forth.

Now having said that, Basically, the CEO gave his own (personal!) money to a cause that he believed in. He did not give Mozilla’s money. So now people are trying to be the thought police and are boycotting Mozilla, for naming him CEO. It’s almost like my not getting a job that I was completely qualified for because I didn’t vote for obama. There are some vocal groups out there that proclaim that they “embrace all viewpoints” but then whisper “as long as they agree with ours.”

Whether you agree with his position or not, it’s pretty damned dangerous that political correctness (or in days gone by, party affiliation) outweighs qualifications for the position. Like that woman on the weather channel that said years ago that any weather person that didn’t believe in global warming should lose their AMS certification.

I personally think that Eich should be judged for job performance in his position as CEO of Mozilla purely by his performance in the role, not his views outside of the job. They just aren’t that closely linked. Here is a question. Do you think that a person should be disqualified from working at Coca Cola because he prefers Mountain Dew (a Pepsi product)?

I’m still not convinced all these comparisons quite work (do they or don’t they like guns, believe in global warming, are vegetarian, hold a political view). Liking or not liking meat or guns is liking or not liking a thing. Extending that to liking or not liking people who hold that view is already a pretty big mental step I agree most people probably don’t take. The difference here is that the core view of discussion is that he may start at the core with not liking a group of people. To be fair there still is some inference that is not 100% proven that being against gay marriage probably means not liking gays so that interpretation is open to some debate.

So I guess all I can really say is that IF it is proven or taken that his actions stem from a core not liking of a group of people, then the comparisons to other beliefs about “things” don’t work so well. How ever that link isn’t 100% clear from the data. It could be argued he just doesn’t like gay marriage but is ok with the gays (even I find that quite unlikely).

So I guess my requested take away is that possibly in this case there’s not much more that’s factually debatable, but in the future in other cases where it is clear the person doesn’t like a group of people, comparisons to other people’s beliefs or preferences about “things” isn’t quite the same. I too agree that people who hold differing beliefs on things can easily professional work together. I remain sceptical that when the core belief is a dislike if a group of people that that will work as well.

I wasn’t in the discussion in the show, so I was staying out of this one. But…

[quote=“VulcanRidr, post:16, topic:274”]
There are some vocal groups out there that proclaim that they “embrace all viewpoints” but then whisper “as long as they agree with ours.”[/quote]

You see! they go on and on about tolerance, but when it comes to embracing the intolerant, they’re just as bad!

This is a pernicious argument. It’s pretty commonly thrown around, though; that attempting to stop bigotry is meaningless if you are yourself bigoted against bigots. I do not agree with this one tiny little shred of a bit, in case it wasn’t clear. Preaching acceptance of viewpoints does not mean that you should accept the viewpoint “this viewpoint is unacceptable”.

No. Not at all. However, if I were the head of Coca Cola, and someone came for a job, and that person had given money to an organisation which tries to stop anyone drinking Coca Cola… I would not give them a job. This isn’t about preference; it’s about actively attempting to suppress people’s rights.

Now, Brendan’s a nice guy. I’ve met him. I have no problem with him thinking what he wants as long as it doesn’t affect others; I have a bit of a problem with him going out of his way to attempt to stop other people from marrying who they want, but, hell, that’s what politics is all about, and someone might feel the same about me giving money to the Open Rights Group in the UK because I don’t respect the rights of artists correctly in their opinion. I am, however, a bit disappointed in Mozilla, specifically because they’re an organisation entirely dedicated to openness and tolerance. I can see why they appointed him as CEO – I’m sure he’ll do a good job, and he’s Brendan Eich for God’s sake, he invented JavaScript; he’s got the technical chops, and it’s nice to see a technical company not turning over the whole board to business types and instead elevating engineers – but he has views which are strongly intolerant enough that he’s prepared to pay a bunch of money to stop other people getting married because he doesn’t think they should be allowed to. This, to me, seems at least a bit at odds with Mozilla’s stated aims. Now, there is a reasonable argument that his personal politics are nothing to do with his job; there’s a reasonable argument that this was weighed up and Mozilla felt that the good he brings to the job outweighs the bad; etc. I’m not really seeing anyone in a position to know actually making those arguments, though; it’s all “no no everything’s OK” PR minimise-the-outcry stuff, which disappoints me a bit. I’m not outraged, to be honest. But I am a little sad.

I’m still not convinced all these comparisons quite work (do they or don’t they like guns, believe in global warming, are vegetarian, hold a political view). Liking or not liking meat or guns is liking or not liking a thing. Extending that to liking or not liking people who hold that view is already a pretty big mental step I agree most people probably don’t take. The difference here is that the core view of discussion is that he may start at the core with not liking a group of people.

But what you are basically saying here is that your definition of ethics is greater than someone else’s. While you may consider the right for gay people to marry as more important than “liking” something such as vegetarianism or pro-gun folks, for those people they consider their views as equally important in many cases. As an example, pro-gun people feel it is their ethical right to own a fire-arm, not just because they “like” guns. That would be someone saying that gay people just “like” the idea of getting married.

This is what I mean’t earlier when I said that everyone has a different sense of what “ethics” is. When you accept that those who oppose an ethical stance should be asked to step down as CEO, then you need apply that logic fairly to other ethics too.

If Brendan Eich had donated money to the Kansas City BBQ Society, do you feel that vegetarians at Mozilla would have the right to ask him to step down?

Arguably those vegetarians could be unwelcome at Mozilla and feel that the organization is tolerating the slaughter of innocent animals because their CEO supports the popular American past-time of smoking and grilling dead animals and celebrating this in social situations.

To be fair there still is some inference that is not 100% proven that being against gay marriage probably means not liking gays so that interpretation is open to some debate.

From limited experience of knowing some people against gay marriage, they generally don’t have any issue with gay people or being gay. Their primary issue is with “protecting traditional marriage”.

Not at all.   What I said as I went on was that I was (possibly incorrectly) inferring from his action a possible core motivation of a dislike of a group of people. Assuming that, then I found the comparisons not equal. I then said that to be fair, this isn’t supported by the data so may not be true so I have no data backed argument.

I think I get where you are coming from. You view my very initial argument as like seeing someone donate to a BBQ Society and inferring they hate vegetarians and asking them to step down by vegetarians. Which is essentially what I did, I saw him donate to an anti gay marriage fund, and made a logically unsupported jump to assume he didn’t like gay people.  It was erroneous.

What I was merely saying in this more recent post, is that in future situations, if we see cases where people actually are anti-gay, not just anti gay marriage, then this is a different thing, they are now anti a group of people specifically, and some of the other scenarios here don’t really match, like being pro-BBQ.

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