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Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 11, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Mozilla: CEOs should think twice before donating to hot-button issues

The story “Mozilla CEO resignation raises free-speech issues” [Business / Technology, April 5] brings up interesting issues.

“Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich stepped down Thursday as chief executive, just days after his appointment. He left the nonprofit maker of the Firefox browser after furious attacks, largely on Twitter, over his $1,000 contribution to support of a now-overturned 2008 gay marriage ban.”

The liberals got angry, the boss resigned, and now conservatives are demanding a boycott of the Firefox browser. Everybody is upset. Both sides are demonstrating their outrage by boycotting or threatening to boycott the company.

So, is it a wise career strategy for a CEO to contribute to political campaigns? Recently the Supreme Court has protected such donations as free speech. But just because donations are protected does it spare the CEO any criticism? No. Free speech goes both ways.

The ultimate decision before writing a political check is: How will this hurt my business? If a CEO is the “face of a company,” maybe he or she should think twice about supporting lightning-rod social issues.

For those of us who do not have the money to sway elections, our only free speech resource is a boycott.

Lucia Regan, Seattle

Comments | More in Gay rights | Topics: Brendan Eich, Firefox, Free speech

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