Freedom of speech, be ashamed

Edit: I was thinking about removing this post for a long time. Recent events in Mozilla, by  February 2017, convinced me of removing the post but instead, I decided to keep it and add this note instead so you can see how I thought and how I think.

I regret of this post for several reasons: it was an attempt to give a political/social opinion in a programming blog, the title is click bait, content is written in a prescriptive and moral judging style, you can perceive anger through my words… The sensationalism blurred the original intention and although I continue thinking there are a lot of things wrong with the CREDO petition, now, with much more vital experience on my side, I can understand the roots of anger in the petition.

I’m not proud of this post, I can not change what I said but I can recognise my errors, make the proper amendments and move on. Here it is the original version:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 19 of the Universal declaration of human rights.

Sorry for the dramatic title but I was torn between that and this: today is a bad day for the Internet and Mozilla. Drama possessed me at the last moment.

Long time has passed since the last time I write here and I did not expect to write about this matter but yesterday I read Brendam Eich has resigned from its position as CEO of the Mozilla Company due to the pressures of LGBT collectives about the donation of 1,000 $ Brendam gave to California’s Proposition 8. And that is sad. It is sad because one of the Mozilla’s co-founders, one guy that have spend more than 15 years fighting for a more open and global Internet and a person I respect, I consider smart and with the aptitudes to lead a company like Mozilla helping with its real mission is now out of the game simply because «he did not think like majority».

And it scares me a lot: the same Americans claiming for openness and equality are denying a person their right to be a legitimate CEO due to a completely legal action. The law is the moral of people. A democratic society elect people who write down the moral judgements in terms of law. And laws prove themselves valid if they survive successive legislatures cause this means moral decisions became culture believes. If gay marriage and rights have been accepted wide globally is thanks to this effect. Thanks to our democratic society that allows the freedom of though and expression and give the citizen the power to convince without the use of force. Or, at least, to try to convince.

It is true there were no violent actions in all this matter but it is true there are some specific behaviours non very democratic-friendly exhibited here. See for example the CREDO petition signed by at least 75K people. You can find a copy at the end of this post or read a cached version in Google. Notice the way it is expressed and give thanks to not see the underlined parts to be replaced for some other matters you disagree with. Indeed, the letter itself is very clear: «there is not a simply a public disagreement about an individual’s personal beliefs but (…)». So, despite the other things about being a powerful companies, it is really a mere public disagreement with individuals belief.

As a matter of opinion and making use of my freedom to speech, I want to blame Mozilla as well. Mozilla is becoming a company more than a non-profit organisation. Ask anyone in the community and you will see  the controversy. A company have politics and its reputation is tightly tied to their benefits, moreover when you aspire to be a global company with your product being used by any kind of people. So at this moment you need to take the best choice while constrained by the public opinion. The latest statements of Mitchell Baker reflect this time of change:

Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it. We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves.

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.

Brendan Eich Steps Down as Mozilla CEO – Mitchell Baker, Executive Chairwoman

An the blog itself links the mission of Mozilla! And they said about openness of the Web because they are an Internet company! In my opinion, this is nothing more than company fear of their customers’ opinion. A flaw attempt to continue being the cool guy and this has nothing to do with openness, equality or freedom.

So, summarizing, I support the position of Brendam Eich to not reverse his statements or beliefs, I think he has shown integrity which is such a quality for a leader and this makes no more than reinforcing the fact that loosing him as the head for an open, free and truly global Internet is a real pity.

Copy of the petition at CREDO.

Mozilla, maker of the world’s second most popular browser Firefox, announced a leadership change this week. In a highly controversial move, Brendan Eich was named CEO despite his public support for the anti-gay Proposition 8 which ended the marriage equality for gays and lesbians in California until it was overturned by the Supreme Court last summer.1

There is not a simply a public disagreement about an individual’s personal beliefs, but rather a serious crisis involving a powerful global organization and a leader with a history of explicit advocacy to deny gays and lesbians equal rights under law.

Mozilla is an organization that has demonstrated a deep commitment to openness and equality. That’s why it was so shocking that its board of directors named a CEO with a public record of anti-gay advocacy.

Tell Mozilla: Your brand should be identified with openness and equality — not anti-gay hate. New CEO Brendan Eich must reverse his anti-gay stance, resign or be replaced

Many people have evolved their views on equality as American attitudes on gay rights have shifted dramatically in recent years. It’s time for Eich to join them. As the representative of a global brand that represents openness and is committed to equality and inclusiveness, Eich should make an unequivocal statement of support for marriage equality. If he cannot, he should resign. And if he will not, the board should fire Eich immediately.

Eich became the subject of controversy two years ago when his $1,000 donation to the discriminatory and anti-gay California ballot initiative, Proposition 8, was revealed.

Same-sex marriage in California2 was made legal by a court decision in June of 2008. In response, rightwing anti-gay activists qualified Proposition 8, a state constitutional amendment, for the November 2008 ballot in order to take away the rights of gays and lesbians to marry in California. Backed by the Mormon Church and other rightwing funders, Proposition 8 passed on Election Day, and was eventually overturned by the Supreme Court five years later in 2013.

Tell Mozilla: If Brendan Eich doesn’t make an unequivocal statement of support for marriage equality, he must resign. If he refuses to do so he should be fired.

Since announcing the selection of Eich as CEO, Mozilla has faced an incredible backlash. Some members of the broader Mozilla community have advocated for a boycott of the Firefox browsers.3 There are employees calling for Eich’s resignation via Twitter.4 Eich himself released a statement that stopped far short of addressing his anti-gay advocacy but instead affirmed his commitment to enforcing Mozilla’s strong anti-discrimination policies for its employees.5 And Mozilla’s board chair took pains to make clear her support for gay rights even as she defended the choice of Eich to lead the organization.6 Facing increasing pressure, Mozilla later released a second blog post on the matter underscoring the organization’s commitment to «openness and equality for all people» and making an explicit statement in support of marriage equality.7

But the board’s decision to elevate Eich, whose history of anti-gay advocacy was public before he was hired, to the position of CEO is a forceful gesture that elevates an advocate of writing discrimination into our laws to the head of a global brand representing openness and equality. The people at Mozilla and their massive community of users deserve better than a leader that advocates for inequality and hate.

It’s not enough for Eich to pledge that he will enforce Mozilla’s strong internal policies that ensure all employees are treated equal when he continues to refuse to renounce his advocacy for legislating hateful discrimination against gays and lesbians with constitutional amendments such as Proposition 8.

We hope for and would welcome a public statement from Eich of unequivocal support for equality not just within Mozilla but for all Americans. If he cannot do this he should resign or be fired.

Thank you for standing up for equal rights for all Americans.

Hope you never need to see this same petition with the subject (underlined) portions replaced by something really, really bad or really really silly to realize the problem is not in the subject but the forms.

Hope it helps!

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