Thanks for all the reactions to yesterday’s piece on the Brendan Eich saga. There is one point that has come up again and again in email exchanges and I wanted to address it clearly. It seems quite likely to me that the whole Eich story would have turned out very differently if Eich had simply said something to the effect of, “Yes, I did that in 2008. But like the rest of the country, my views have changed over the last 5 years. I was wrong and I’m sorry.” If he’d said that – sincerely or not – I suspect the whole crisis would have subsided and he’d still be on the job.
He was either too sincere in his belief, too maladroit in his ability to react to the crisis or too arrogant to do that. And thus we got the result that we did.
I’ve seen a few people suggest that Eich actually did apologize for what he’d done or in some way recanted his earlier view. But this seems clearly not to be the case. His response was simply to say that his personal views would not in any way affect Mozilla’s strong stance on LGBT rights.
If this is truly what he believes and wasn’t willing to lie to keep his job at some level, good for him. Standing by your convictions is an admirable quality, regardless of the quality of your convictions. For the purposes of the conversation we were having yesterday, however, I think it clarifies some of the state of play on the issue.