Recently, OKCupid decided to weigh in on the appointment of CEO Brendan Eich to the board of Firefox. It turned what was largely something limited to discussions in tech blogs into a bigger news story, and ultimately Eich quit the position after just a few days. Turns out, though, that the owner of OKCupid isn’t exactly squeaky-clean himself.
Specifically, Mother Jones went digging and found that CEO Sam Yagan has contributed to right wing politicians, specifically former Utah congressman Chris Cannon. Cannon’s a fairly standard right-wing politician, and his stance on equal rights is, well, guess:
During his time as congressman from 1997 to 2009, Cannon voted for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, against a ban on sexual-orientation based job discrimination, and for prohibition of gay adoptions.
It’s worth noting that Yagan is far from alone on this score in the tech world. Google and Facebook have happily donated to groups working against the interests of their own employees. And, as we noted in a discussion about whether or not to drop Firefox over this, a company is not its employees.
Still, it wasn’t Google or Facebook asking its users to ditch their browser. And if Yagan was contributing to a politician specifically to get something he wanted for his company, well, one doubts his gay and female employees appreciate being thrown under the bus.
Part of this is just the hypocrisy you see every day when you cover the tech world; the tech industry is a world where the ends, whatever they are, justify any sort of means. And the American political system has, increasingly, tried to wire together economic and civil rights issues; unless you’re solidly one end of the spectrum or the other, and few of us are, your money might be going to a cause you loathe.
But another part of it is that we, as a society, are so tightly connected at this point that we brush up against each other no matter what. There’s just no way to avoid it. Good thing or bad thing, it’s here to stay… something OKCupid might want to remember.