Looks like we need another refresher on Freedom of Speech and what that means
Brendan Eich, the now-former CEO of Mozilla has donated a considerable sum of money to a campaign to deny LGBT people equality. He is a homophobic bigot. Mozilla decided being a homophobic bigot is the perfect person to head their company when they appointed him CEO – it was a bigoted decision that proved Mozilla did not value LGBT people.
LGBT people and people who aren’t raging bigots and apologists for bigots responded with fierce criticism, blog posts, social media campaigns and, yes, OKCupid joined the campaign (they did not block firefox – they DID have a page that said, basically, “hey we’d prefer you use a browser that doesn’t support raging bigotry” which did have a clickthrough if you really did want to continue with firefox.
Brendan Eich stepped down.
Would people have been happy with less? Honestly, I wouldn’t have been – and I still look leerily at some of the man’s apologists in Mozilla as well. But Eich didn’t even try. Mozilla threw around policy statements – which addressed nothing. They were so poor that they released several to try and patch the gaping holes – but never addressed the fact they’d chosen a bigot to lead them
Eich himself made vague statements – but adamantly refused to address his donation to a hate campaign. More, he wouldn’t rule out doing the same again, even when expressly asked. Eich is a homophobic bigot who has campaigned against the equality of LGBT people – and plans to continue to do so. Yet he expected LGBT people to have faith in him for the future.
This wasn’t even LGBT people refusing to accept an apology (which we wouldn’tbeen obliged to do) or trusting him to learn and do better – because he didn’t make an apology, made no indication that he had learned and adamantly ruled out not doing the same thing all over again.
And let us be clear here – LGBT people did not sack Brandon Eich. We do not have that power. We did not ban him under law – we do not have that power. We did not destroy his code or his company or have his website banned – none of these we can do. No-one physically attacked him. No-one put a gun to his head.
We spoke against a man who would spend money to deny our humanity. We spoke against a man who wished to deny us equality and treat us as lesser citizens. We spoke against a man who refused to even rule out doing the same thing again. We spoke against a company – a company that even prides itself on its principles - that decided such a man was ideal to be their leader and figurehead. We chose not to use the products of that company. We chose not to associate with a man or a company
Why is his “freedom of speech” which, by the American interpretation, also includes copious amounts of money to fund denial of our rights – so damn precious that OUR freedom of speech must be silence – or be considered “out of line” or “going too far.”
Why is his speech perfectly reasonable but ours is a “lynch mob”?
What do you expect us to do? Do you think we have some kind of duty to shop at Chick-fil-a, use Firefox or read Orson Scott Card? Lest our refusal to associate with a bigot somehow “oppress” you? At what point are we ALLOWED to speak up against bigotry? When do we get to defend outselves, oh straight people, do tell?
Why are LGBT people – all marginalised people – presented as being vicious, angry and oppressive because we won’t lay down silently and let privileged people oppress us?
Brendan Eich is not a victim. Brendan Eich was the man trying to victimise LGBT people – and clearly planning to do so again in the future. LGBT people chose not to lay down and take it, LGBT people fought against being victimised, LGBT people refused to smile in the face of yet another straight, cis person hitting us.
All you people squealing about how so-very-mean we’ve been to this bigot? You are like the men who hold some poor guys arms so someone else can punch him. Eich is the one who attacked us – we’re defending ourselves. It’s your choice whether you stand aside, help protect us – or try to hold our arms so we’re defenceless.