Brendan Eich

The beleaguered CEO of Mozilla, which makes the Firefox web browser, has resigned following outrage that he made a donation to an anti-gay campaign.

It was revealed over a week ago that Brendan Eich, who had only just been appointed CEO of the progressive non profit company, in 2008 donated $1,000 towards a campaign to outlaw same-sex marriage in California.

It later came to light that he also had also made donations to campaigns by anti-gay conservative Republican politicians.

Despite statements by Mozilla that as a company it supports same-sex marriage, Eich never did the same – only saying that he supports equality.

The company was faced with threats of boycotts, resignations and condemnation by staff and the tech community over Eich’s appointment.

On Thursday, Mozilla Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker announced in a blog post that Eich had “chosen to step down from his role as CEO.”

She also apologised for the way that the company had dealt with the controversy.

“Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it. We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves,” she said.

“We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better.”

Baker again reiterated that “Mozilla supports equality for all” and said that the furore had shown the difficulty of balancing the company’s support for equality and for freedom of speech.

“Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard,” she said.

A replacement for Eich has not yet been announced.

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