Just to show you how powerful maintaining  your reputation online actually is, let’s look into the stepping down of one of tech’s biggest CEO’s. Recently, the dating website OkCupid played a role in bringing down one of the internet’s most powerful CEO’s, Mozilla’s Brendan Eich. Brendan Eich, who was pivotal in developing some of the world’s most cutting edge technologies, resigned under pressure. Eich was the CEO of Mozilla, the force behind the extremely popular Firefox web browser and creator of technologies such as JavaScript. 

Mozilla announced Eich’s resignation via a blog post. They explained that their organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness, but Eich’s support of Proposition 8 did not match their views. Mozilla noted that Eich – who was only named CEO a few weeks earlier –  made the decision to resign on his own, “for Mozilla and our community.”

Eich was felled because he once donated money to support Proposition 8, the California measure that worked to ban same-sex marriages. Eich donated $1,000 in 2008, and today says he is not sorry that he did. Eich’s support for Proposition 8 became public immediately after he took the helm of Mozilla Official Site, and the public’s reaction was swift. Soon, it was evident that Mozilla was facing the backlash.

How did it happen? OkCupid published an open letter that was visible only to its clients who visited the site via Firefox. It called out Eich, and explained that clients would not be able to use Mozilla to access their website.

OkCupid was not the only company to show their support of gay rights, and their opinion that Eich should step down or let Mozilla face the public’s scrutiny. Backlash on Twitter drew Mozilla’s notice, too, as did outrage from Mozilla’s employees.

While this is not the norm–asking CEO’s to step down due to their lack of support of gay rights, it may help to create a real dialogue among corporations about whether their board’s personal beliefs should in any way affect their hiring choices.

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.