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News Eich steps down from Mozilla over equal rights furore

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Gareth Halfacree, 4 Apr 2014.

  1. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    Sure. He just can't separate his personal beliefs from how other people live.

    I repeat: he actively supported a proposition to make it illegal for people to live in a manner he, personally believes they shouldn't be able to. That doesn't sound like a man who can keep his personal beliefs personal.
     
  2. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Nobody forced Eich to resign. A number of people exercised their own right to free speech by speaking out against his leadership, and threatening to withdraw support for the company and its products so long as he was leader. Mozilla had a choice: stand by Eich and lose those customers/employees/supporters who find the idea of Eich's control of the company unacceptable, or cut Eich loose (sorry, "accept his resignation") and win them back.

    Take a look at the Chick-fil-a controversy, which is several times larger in magnitude than this, involving its COO and donations to anti-LGBT causes by the company's in-house charity. The backlash didn't just involve boycotts and unhappy employees; there was a frickin' gunman involved in that case. (Shot a security guard, was subdued, claimed he planned to kill as many people as possible and smear their corpses in Chick-fil-a sandwiches. 'Cos, y'know, that's an appropriate response to a company you don't like.)

    The COO of Chick-fil-a responsible for the policies, and for public statements denouncing LGBT rights? Yeah, he's still COO. The company stood by him. (It helps, of course, that Dear Old Daddy founded the company.) Interestingly, sales increased 12 per cent following the publicity; proving, if there was ever any doubt, that there's no such thing as bad press.

    Mozilla could have done the same. Arguably, it tried to: statements claiming that nothing would change with regard to its inclusion policies sought to calm the storm, and like Chick-fil-a it could have taken the hit in the hopes that the column inches will win it more support than it has lost - particularly among those who also supported Proposition 8.

    But Mozilla is a vastly different beast to Chick-fil-a. The Mozilla Corporation, of which Eich was briefly CEO, is the business arm of the not-for-profit Mozilla Foundation which presides over numerous open-source projects. The key there is 'open': the Foundation, and by extension the Corporation, prides itself on non-judgemental inclusion for all. Sure, it's perfectly possible - probable, even - that Eich would not have let his personal beliefs, as represented by his cash donation to Proposition 8 lobbying, affect that; but the leader of a company should be someone who believes in the company's aims, goals and processes - or, alternatively, one who seeks to change those that he disagrees with.

    Its community spoke, and Mozilla listened. In the end, it valued those members of the community who felt Eich's appointment was inappropriate more than it valued Eich. Alternatively, if you'd like a happier interpretation of events: Mozilla may have been perfectly willing to stand by Eich, but he chose to step down in order to protect the project he founded and helped build up - valuing the community above himself, regardless of whether or not he believes in the personal choices made by sections of that community.

    TL;DR: Don't be surprised if, when you make your personal beliefs public, it has repercussions. As an atheist, I'm probably a bad choice to lead the Vatican Church when they're looking for their next Pope...
     
    Last edited: 5 Apr 2014
  3. law99

    law99 Custom User Title

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    Presumably he accepted that he lost? But he didn't apologise. That is what this has become about.

    Annoyingly now, I can't find the statements that I read on my phone from colleagues of his that said his personal beliefs were never on the table at work.

    Here is a quote from Mitchell Baker, presumably one of the people that put him where he was

    “I never saw any kind of behavior or attitude from him that was not in line with Mozilla’s values of inclusiveness,"

    EDIT: You know, the funniest thing about this is, Brendan Eich didn't even want the title, he wanted Jay Sullivan to stay.
     
  4. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    He does nor need to apologise. He is entitled to believe what he wants. He just can't impose his beliefs on others. Through supporting a political campaign to make his personal belief law, he strived to impose it on others.

    This is a bit more extreme example of the principle, but I was once asked an interesting question when in training. Suppose there is this clinical psychologist. He is highly competent, skilled, treats his clients compassionately and respectfully and he has good clinical outcomes. Clients feel that he is caring, competent and effective.

    Oh, and he abuses his wife. He terrorises her, controls her and only last month he put her in hospital. She won't press charges. None of that is evident in his workplace, where he is known as a competent and affable person. Would you still hire him?

    If a police officer is excellent and professional at his job, but has been known to bend a few laws in his personal life, would you still employ him?

    Think it over.
     
    Last edited: 5 Apr 2014
  5. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001 [DELETE] means [DELETE]

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    I'd hire the psychologist. I wouldn't know about his abusing because it's not known in the work place. So to me the employer he'd appear to be perfect for the job.
     
  6. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    If you knew (let's say in his personal circles and amongst the police it is a well-known fact), would you still hire him?
     
  7. Yadda

    Yadda Well-Known Member

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    I don't see how those examples are relevant. Eich did not break the law. Beating your wife (or anyone) is illegal and comparing Eichs actions to wife beating is frankly ridiculous. The second example is too vague - "known to bend a few laws" - how was it "known" and by whom? Which laws?
     
  8. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    I forgot I was talking to geeks. Forget the details: focus on the principle.

    OK, something that is easier to get your head aroung: you're higing a psychologist for sexual health services. In his spare time he supports an organisation that campaigns against homosexuality (say, like the Save Our Children campaign in Miami).

    He does not appear to express his personal beliefs at work, but he is known to publicly campaign for this cause and in doing so has appeared on TV and radio. It is kind of public knowledge where he stands. Would you still feel comfortable hiring him?
     
  9. Yadda

    Yadda Well-Known Member

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    I may not like their beliefs but I would not let it affect my professional opinion of them. Otherwise, where would you draw the line - what about theists "not feeling comfortable" hiring atheists, and vice-versa? Would that be ok?

    Someone's personal opinions, providing they don't directly affect their work, are none of my business.
     
  10. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001 [DELETE] means [DELETE]

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    [​IMG]


    :lol:
     
  11. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    OK: you hire him. At some point he sees a client for sexual health issues who happens to be gay. The client recognises him from the anti-gay campaigns that the psychologist publicly supports. He is not happy; he does not trust that the psychologist will treat his issues with respect and non-jugdgementality. Moreover he now starts to have doubts about the whole service for hiring a professional who has such publicly stated prejudicial beliefs. What do you do next?

    About theists not hiring atheists. The Christian chaplaincy is hiring faith counselors. I apply, stating that I'm an atheist, but also a qualified therapist and raised in the Christian tradition, and I have successfully treated people of faith in my previous cancer psychology post, so my personal beliefs shouldn't matter, right? Would they have grounds to refuse to hire me?
     
  12. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001 [DELETE] means [DELETE]

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    Legally, no.

    Would they refuse to hire you? Most likely.
     
  13. Yadda

    Yadda Well-Known Member

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    1) You find him another psychologist.

    2) I have no idea, I was talking personally, not from the POV of a Christian organisation.
     
  14. Yadda

    Yadda Well-Known Member

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    I agree. They'd probably find someone "more suitable". Just like an atheist organisation would if a person of faith applied for a position.
     
  15. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    1) But the client doesn't trust your service anymore, because you hired that homophobe (as he sees it) in the first place. What does that say about the values that your service professes? Moreover he now tells all his gay friends that the local sexual health service happily has a homophobe working for it. See the problem?

    Certain professions are not just jobs. You represent a service, an organization, an institution, its professional values and standards. Police officers are expected to respect the law also in their personal life. Doctors and nurses are expected to assist the sick and injured who they happen to come across in the street, even when they are off-duty. Therapists whose very professional stance is supposed to be one of non-judgment and unconditional positive regard cannot publicly advocate prejudices. Vicars and priests cannot publicly profess to be atheists, even if their training and respect for other people's faith would still allow them to do their job; they are expected to believe. Child social workers cannot continue working if their own kids have been taken into care. Alcohol counselors cannot do their job if they are (still) struggling with alcoholism themselves. Dieticians cannot be morbidly obese (well, they can, but would you follow their advice?).

    As a CEO of a company you are the company. You represent it and its values. You are its public face.
     
    Last edited: 5 Apr 2014
  16. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    If that organisation espouses atheist values, then probably yes.
     
  17. Yadda

    Yadda Well-Known Member

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    Ok, in that case, their active campaigning has directly affected their work. Remember, I said I wouldn't have a problem providing their work was unaffected.

    Eich standing down was purely a commercial decision though, it's not nearly the same thing.

    Are you seriously suggesting that a CEO of an IT company cannot have anti gay marriage views for the same reason as an alcohol counsellor cannot have a drink problem, or a Vicar must be religious, or a Doctor will treat someone they find injured in a street?
     
    Last edited: 5 Apr 2014
  18. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    Kinda is. His campaigning affected how customers (and employees) started to perceive Mozilla as a company, because the values he campaigned for conflict with the values that Mozilla professes.

    Not just any IT company: an IT company that professes values of equality and inclusion. It's about congruence: does this guy practice what he (or his job) preaches? If he does a job or works for a service with a certain set of ethical and professional values and standards, does he genuinely respect and believe in those? If his personal behaviour is not congruent with his professional behaviour, then there is a loss of credibility and distrust ensues. In simplest terms: you don't expect the CEO of Ford to drive around in a Honda.
     
  19. Yadda

    Yadda Well-Known Member

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    Ok, putting that to one side for a moment, do you think it's ever appropriate to hire someone with Eich's views, in any occupation?
     
  20. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    Sure. If he was, say, an accountant or airline pilot, it wouldn't matter. If he was CEO for a company that has no particular humanitarian values (e.g. an oil company) or that embraces "traditional family" values, it probably wouldn't. Anything that would not create a sense of incongruence.
     

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