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Right Wing Rushes to Former Mozilla CEO's Defense

By Sunnivie Brydum

After just 10 days in the position, JavaScript inventor Brendan Eich resigned as Mozilla's CEO Thursday amid outrage over his past donations to antigay politicians and causes. In addition to pressure from online activists to remove Eich, several Mozilla employees spoke out against the appointment — and three board members even resigned — contending that Eich's antigay perspectives and right-wing political leanings were ill-suited for someone leading a progressive technology corporation that is run by a nonprofit foundation which the New York Times described as an activist organization.

But now, in the wake of Eich's ouster, right-wing pundits around the country are lamenting what they say is the blatant intolerance of the left-leaning gay activist community. 

Former Fox News anchor and conservative commentator Glenn Beck railed against Eich's removal on his radio program at The Blaze, bemoaning the shifting nature of language, saying it's led him to be unsure what words to use to describe LGBT people — an uncertainty that he claims can now cost anyone their job. 

"It's being celebrated that somebody who donated $1,000, six years ago, has lost their job now," Beck began, according to video posted by Right Wing Watch. "So in addition of a ton of outrage, the gay activists- by the way, I hope that 'gay' is currently the accepted term. I don't know if it's 'homosexual,' and I don't know [if] it's 'queer.' If it's 'queer,' I feel uncomfortable because it had been drummed into my head that 'queer' is a slam, and I know now people use 'queer,' I don't know if I'm allowed to use 'queer.' I don't know if 'homosexual' — it was not supposed to be 'gay,' because that was a slam, and so everybody was trained to use the word 'homosexual.' But now everybody' being trained that, I think, I think, the accepted word is 'gay.' I don't know anymore! Because you keep changing all the rules. Depending on how you feel.

"Or, is it that, it's not that you feel that way. It's that these groups are becoming nothing but a terrorist organization, that just by changing the language, I can lose my job, if I say 'homosexual,' or 'gay,' or 'queer.' I could lose my job and so you never know and so you keep everyone in fear."

The president of the antigay National Organization for Marriage took a similar stance in support of the ousted CEO on Friday, urging sympathetic conservatives to remove Mozilla's Firefox browser in protest of what Brown called the "McCarthyesque witch hunt that makes the term 'thought police' seem modest."

"When Brendon Eich [sic] made his modest contribution to support Proposition 8, Barack Obama was on the ballot as a candidate who said he believed marriage was the union of one man and one woman," said Brown on NOM's blog Friday. "Now Eich has been the target of a vicious character attack by gay activists who have forced him out of the company he has helped lead for years… This attack to deny Mr. Eich his livelihood for supporting true marriage is a continuation of the shameful pattern we have consistently seen from gay activists. It basically says to all those in America and around the world who believe in a view of marriage that is consistent with the teachings of their faith that they are all bigots and haters and there is no place for them in civil society. This is the totalitarian worldview we will all be under if marriage ultimately is redefined in the law." 

But while these notable right-wing figureheads were predicting the impending moral doom of a nation that supports marriage and LGBT equality, Brietbart editor Ben Shapiro resorted to outright lies about the way Eich's donation was revealed, reports John Aravosis at AmericaBLOG.

Shapiro, a prominent conservative and editor-at-large at the right-leaning Brietbart.com, claimed that the Internal Revenue Service had illegally leaked the report of Eich's $1,000 donation in support of Prop. 8. In an interview with the BBC opposite gay blogger and activist Aravosis, Shapiro argued that, 

"This guy, first of all, his donation was anonymous. It was leaked by the IRS to somebody."

As Aravosis notes, that accusation is patently false. California law requires the public reporting of campaign contributions, including those made to ballot initiatives like Prop. 8. The Los Angeles Times first reported Eich's donation — and those of everyone else who donated for or against Prop. 8 — in February 2009. Subsequently, there was a minor flare-up in the progressive tech community and blogosphere where LGBT programmers and coders expressed outrage over Eich's donation. But it wasn't until Eich, who had been serving as Mozilla's chief technical officer, was appointed CEO on March 24 that the donation became the focus of widespread protest. And after the Guardian revealed that Eich had also supported right-wing, anti-everything GOP candidate Pat Buchanan, and later Ron Paul, in the 1990s, that the Mozilla board finally encouraged Eich to step down. 

Finally, Shapiro contended that LGBT activists were "fascists" for protesting Eich's appointment to lead the progressive tech company because of his opposition to marriage equality. But, as Aravosis keenly points out, Shapiro has spoken out against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would make it illegal for an employer to fire someone simply for being LGBT. 

"So, just to reiterate," writes Aravosis. "It's okay to fire your employees for being gay, but not for being anti-gay." 

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