Firefox users are looking for love in the wrong place if they try their luck at OkCupid right now: The site puts up a full-page message asking users to switch, citing an anti-gay marriage donation made by the new chief executive of Mozilla, the non-profit home of the independent open-source browser.
Users can still scroll to the bottom of the page to continue using the site, but not until OkCupid provides a few alternative recommendations for browsers, including Google Chrome, Safari, Opera, and “Internet Exploder,” the term of endearment from developers worldwide forced to code for Microsoft’s historic HTML vagaries.
In the past few weeks, Mozilla has been under fire for promoting Brendan Eich, formerly the non-profit’s chief technology officer, who donated $1,000 to support Prop 8, which banned gay marriage in California from 2008 to 2013. Eich responded in a blog post, promising to make the project inclusive, and Mozilla issued a statement in support of LGBT equality. In its statement, OkCupid said Eich’s response was “boilerplate,” and didn’t address the issues at hand.
Here’s the full statement, which as far as I can tell OkCupid hasn’t posted for anyone but Firefox users (note that the “Background on Mr. Eich and Mozilla” section is from OkCupid, too):
Hello there, Mozilla Firefox user. Pardon this interruption of your OkCupid experience.
Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples. We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid.
Politics is normally not the business of a website, and we all know there’s a lot more wrong with the world than misguided CEOs. So you might wonder why we’re asserting ourselves today. This is why: we’ve devoted the last ten years to bringing people—all people—together. If individuals like Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8% of the relationships we’ve worked so hard to bring about would be illegal. Equality for gay relationships is personally important to many of us here at OkCupid. But it’s professionally important to the entire company. OkCupid is for creating love. Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure.
If you want to keep using Firefox, the link at the bottom will take you through to the site.
However, we urge you to consider different software for accessing OkCupid:
Google Chrome Internet Exploder Opera Safari
Background on Mr. Eich and Mozilla
In 2008, Mr. Eich supported the passage of California’s Prop 8, a statewide initiative to ban gay marriage, with a $1000 donation. Granted, his contribution is now six years in the past, and people can change. But Mr. Eich’s boilerplate statements in the time since make it seem like he has the same views now as he did then. Mozilla recently promoted him to CEO, hence the issue only now coming to our attention. His donation was known to Mozilla at the time of his promotion, and, furthermore, CEOs are rewarded based on their company’s performance. The CEO is the visionary for a company and its products. We are sad to think that any OkCupid page loads would even indirectly contribute towards the success of an individual who supported Prop 8—and who for all we know would support it again. We wish Mozilla’s institutional commitment to freedom and openness were better reflected by their choice of leadership.
The move is reminiscent of previous “blackouts” by tech companies in response to issues such as Internet surveillance.