TPM Reader FL has a take from inside the tech industry which is sort of sitting right there in plain view but somehow has received not that much attention. In short, an industry and community already engulfed in a pervasive discrimination crisis simply couldn’t afford Brendan Eich at the helm of one of its flagship organizations …
I really enjoyed the piece but I believe that an important part of this story that is not being told is that the tech industry is having a huge discrimination crisis right now. We have brogrammer culture, we have Julie Horvaths reporting widespread discrimination (and then some) at GitHubs and ageism and discrimination against people with kids and we can barely a have single tech conference without somebody being sexually harassed or worse. The community is fighting back, hard.
RailsConf this year had a blind submissions process for proposals, all proposals specifically prohibited from revealing any identifying information, no names, nothing at all that can be used to identify you (meaning you had to sell yourself without talking about projects you started, books you wrote, etc). Given that the tech industry is in the middle of this discrimination crisis it was just unthinkable for those of us trying to fix it (which is, I am happy to say, a large, vocal and influential bunch) that Mozilla, a company that is supposed to represent the Good Guys–openness, innovation and opportunity–would do this.
“Our mission is to promote openness, innovation & opportunity on the Web.
At Mozilla, we’re a global community of technologists, thinkers and builders working together to keep the Internet alive and accessible, so people worldwide can be informed contributors and creators of the Web. We believe this act of human collaboration across an open platform is essential to individual growth and our collective future.”
If that’s your brand how can you possibly justify choosing a leader who discriminates against anyone for any reason? But even so the initial reaction of the industry was for him to recant or step down. It would probably have been enough for him to say, “yeah, I did that, but that was a while back and I have rethought my views and am now committed to equal rights for everyone,” or whatever and the whole thing would have gone away. In fact that’s what I expected would happen. He chose not to do this and his supporters indicated it would never happen, compared it to living in the Soviet Union, etc. Only then did Mozilla employees start speaking out for his removal.