The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community was on the prowl on April 9 after conservative gay commentator Andrew Sullivan came to the defense of now resigned Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich on the Colbert Report. His comments come after weeks of turmoil in the tech world over an individual's ability to voice their beliefs outside of their work involvement.
The tension has reached a summit of sorts, after HBO's Bill Maher lashed out at the "Gay Mafia" in their online pressure for the Mozilla chief to step down after he had previously given $1,000 in support of the anti-marriage equality Proposition 8 bill, which was ruled unconstitutional last year by the Supreme Court.
Sullivan, in a brief interview with host Stephen Colbert, said he was frustrated by the response and felt the actions of the thousands who had called successfully for the resignation of Eich was an infringement on an individual's freedom of speech and worried that this could lead to hindrances of individuals to speak their mind in unrelated to work experiences.
The pundit, known for his often conservative and sometimes progressive views, attempted to give a middle ground on the issue, saying that the LGBT community has gained success in the United States in changing many peoples', including President Barack Obama's, views on same-sex marriage and rights issues.
Eich was ousted from his position at Mozilla lately after online campaigns against him began in earnest after it was revealed that he had donated money to help support the ban on same-sex marriage in California. Here in the Bay Area, where the LGBT community has come the farthest in recent years, the issue of same-sex marriage can be a contentious one, with the gay community having much support among the population, including those in the tech world.
However, the public campaign saw massive protests and even other private websites such as OKCupid launching its own efforts to call for Eich's resignation, which ultimately occurred.
The issue of free speech and public "intrusion" into Silicon Valley has become a major issue in the region, which gentrification and Google Buses taking center stage in the city over the past few months, highlighting the tech world's inclusion into the everyday public lives of its customers and users.
For Sullivan, the issue is about having open and tolerant discussions on issues without jumping to rash conclusions without hearing both sides of the issue.