And yet, gays were vilified for supposedly having destroyed Eich’s career — again, when no LGBT groups or gay pundits actually called for him to resign — while most people, including some of those who defended Eich, seem fine with Donald Sterling’s demise and the sanctions by the NBA.
Some gay activists and writers themselves, as well as some straight liberals, even gave ammunition to the attackers on the right who engaged in vilification of gays — and of a mythical “gay mafia” — for supposedly bringing down Eich. Clutching their pearls, these writers got all queasy about the “optics” of the whole thing. They worried that we are just about complete with our civil rights struggle (did you know that?) and this made us look ungracious, or as openly gay New York Times columnist Frank Bruni put it, it “doesn’t reflect well on the victors.” Last week, one group of mostly gay conservatives even launched a petition to support Eich, not letting the issue go. One of them, Jonathan Rauch, wrote a piece defending the petition, in which he claimed that gay marriage, and thus discrimination against LGBT people, isn’t a “political emergency” in the way discrimination against African Americans was in the ’60s, so therefore it’s only right to tolerate Eich’s homophobia.
All of that alone is a complete fallacy and underscores that a dangerous complacency has set in. (And I’ll be dealing with that at a later date.)
But let’s get something else straight: Whatever commitment Eich claimed to have to diversity at Mozilla — and true, there were no accounts of his discriminating at the company — he, like Donald Sterling, believed one group of people to be inferior to others, and he made it known to the public, since political contributions are now considered speech in addition to being actions. And, as the face of the company, he stood by that speech when asked to clarify it. Who could blame people who are members of the group he attacked as well as their allies for not wanting to work for someone like him and have that person representing the company?