I wrote this in response to a generally well-meaning friend’s reponse to the OKCupid request to boycott Mozilla, in which he said it was “so dumb.”
When I asked him why this was “so dumb,” he said:
"OKC is punishing their users for the sake of pushing their own political views, which are in exaggerated response to Mozilla’s CEO donating $1000 dollars a few years ago to an anti-gay rights cause. Sure, that’s a bit appalling, but that does not make Firefox anti-gay or Mozilla itself an anti-gay company. Just the CEO. Boycotting the whole browser and punishing all the users on that platform almost seems like a silly PR stunt.
On top of that it makes no business sense because it alienates all their Firefox users who are not LGBT or LGBT allies. Maybe that’s a good thing for social progress in the world, but it still makes no business sense and is ultimately founded on what I deem to be an overreaction.”
Well, this was my response to my friend:
Here is my political view rearing its head… I think our world is increasingly shaped by corporations, rather than governments. So your choices as a consumer count, the things you choose to buy, the places you choose to frequent, the sites you choose to visit; you are voting, just as you do with your ballot on election day. All the choices you make exist within a context where some people’s voices “count” more, and are heard above others. Business leaders, especially of large corporations such as Mozilla, have especially loud ones, and there is the risk that these voices become not only the dominant one, but the only one.
By his own right to his own beliefs, Brendan Eich, as Mozilla’s CEO made a contribution to a proposition that would have removed the rights of LGBTQ people. He had the opportunity, given his privilege, to be an especially dominant voice in the conversation. I think that OkCupid was using their power, to bring a counter voice. They didn’t remove the choice of the user to enter the site, but rather, invited them to join the conversation as well, to see themselves, as user/buyers/consumers as powerful as well. And this, to my political side, is not dumb.
Nor is it dumb to my business and marketing sensibilities. I don’t think a market where consumers are making choices based upon how products and services align with their values and identity, allows business leaders the luxury of their public choices not affecting their sales. Now, considering that especially in the States, when a 2010 ruling essentially established corporations as having the same rights as people, if you consider Mozilla and OkCupid people, I’m going to exercise my right to not be friends with people who choose to try to suppress the rights of others. Unfriend, Mozilla.