Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich Resigns

After a weeklong controversy about a previous donation to an anti-LGBT cause, Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich has resigned his position.

In a blog post on the Firefox creators’ website, Mozilla said they hadn’t been true to themselves in their response to the controversy. “We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started,” the post said. “We’re sorry. We must do better.”

Eich found himself in a firestorm after sources dug up a donation he made to the Prop 8 campaign in California, supporting the measure that would later pass and dismantle marriage equality in the state. The news quickly caught fire with LGBT advocates, some of whom called for Eich’s removal. According to the post, Eich stepped down of his own accord.

“Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech,” the post said, reflecting on the “hard” bridging between standing up for both. “Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality.”

Eich previously said he would never resign over the controversy, calling it a “personal” donation that shouldn’t matter in his role.

“I don’t want to talk about my personal beliefs because I kept them out of Mozilla all these 15 years we’ve been going,” he told The Guardian.

Dating site OkCupid made news earlier this week by staging their private form of protest. Users who accessed the site from Firefox were greeted by a message asking them if they would instead access the site through another browser, like Google Chrome, Safari or, hilariously, “Internet Exploder.” Eich called OkCupid’s move “rash.”

In their post, Mozilla pledged to move forward with lessons learned. “We will emerge from this with a renewed understanding and humility — our large, global, and diverse community is what makes Mozilla special, and what will help us fulfill our mission,” the post read. “We are stronger with you involved.”

Read some Twitter reactions to the news below.

https://twitter.com/DPD_/status/451811427561766912

Graphic Credit: Kevin O’Keeffe
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The Pickup Line, West Hollywood’s New Free Trolley Service, Is WeHo Incarnate

Photo Credit: Matt Baume/LA Weekly

Originally published on Public Spectacle, LA Weekly’s arts blog. For original, please refer to: The Pickup Line, West Hollywood’s New Free Trolley Service, Is WeHo Incarnate – Public Spectacle.

Partying in West Hollywood this weekend means opening yourself up to a big, cheesy pickup line headed right towards you. Luckily, this one doesn’t have to be avoided by a quick trip to the bathroom or an S.O.S. signal to your girls. No, in fact, this one is a lifeboat for the drunken looking for a trip across Santa Monica Blvd.

The Pickup Line, which depending on your taste is an either delightful play on words or painful pun, is a free trolley service officially launching this weekend. Running from Robertson Blvd. to just past Fairfax Ave., the Pickup Line might as well be called WeHo on Wheels: it’s loud and gimmicky, but full of the fabulous and beautiful denizens of L.A.’s gayborhood.

“Park on the east side, party on the west side” is the name of the Pickup Line’s game, according to WeHo city councilman John D’Amico. An early supporter of the project, D’Amico told the crowd amassed at the Pickup Line’s preview event that he could “imagine our friends in Los Angeles, maybe in Venice and” other neighborhoods embracing the trend.

For that to happen, however, the six-month pilot program must show results, according to councilman John Heilman, who was much more skeptical about the project when it was first discussed.

“This is a pilot project,” he said, “but what determines if it makes it is if it’s successful.” Motivating this might be the cost — the city invested $71,000 in the pilot program, and in order to keep it free, the city is paying an operating cost of $110 per week. During the pilot project, there are two trolleys, but officials say that there’s potential for four total if it takes off.

WeHo’s denizens can board the trolley from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. at one of 20 stops lining Santa Monica Blvd., each indicated by a bright yellow sign. On the trolley, much like at any West Hollywood club, your ears will be assaulted by house music — the beats compliments of DJ Derek Monteiro. The maximum occupancy is 29, but it’s not hard to imagine getting the usual cramped, sweaty dance floor feeling the hottest clubs also boast.

The trolleys also have “The Pickup Shot,” a photo booth used for uploading photos to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, because what good is a programming initiative without a gimmicky social media tie-in?

One aspect of the venture that can’t be snarked at, however, are the promotional perks. The Abbey is letting riders skip the infamously long line. Fubar patrons who ride get their first drink for a dollar. Micky’s is offering no cover and priority admission. These aren’t small favors in WeHo; arguably, they’re more than worth the (free) ticket to ride.

The Pickup Line had its soft launch this past weekend, but will officially be launching this Friday with parties on the patios of Micky’s, Revolver, and Eleven nightclubs at 6 p.m. The maiden voyage of the trolleys will happen later that night.

Ultimately, the choice to ride the Pickup Line comes down to two factors: are you drunk enough for it, and do you like WeHo enough for it? If either or both of those things are true, the Pickup Line is a fabulous new addition to the nightlife scene. If not, this particular line just isn’t going to work on you — and even the perks might not be enough.

Armie, Channing and the Four-Quadrant Man Problem

armie

It’s not a great weekend to be Armie Hammer. His new film, The Lone Ranger, was DOA at the box office. Worse even, he’s likely to be scapegoated for the failure.

After all, director Gore Verbinski and co-lead Johnny Depp have been bringing in the big bucks for years. It’s not as if their partnership could be going the way of Depp’s partnership with director Tim Burton — no, you can put safe money that Hammer is going to be taking the fall for this one. While that’s disappointing, it was also totally foreseeable.

The problems with The Lone Ranger have been noted sufficiently already — suffice it to say Depp playing a Native American character in a mostly dead property was clearly never going to be a winner. But as scandalous as the Depp cast may have been, it was the choice of Hammer as the titular Ranger that puzzled me most.

Hammer has been in two films of real note: The Social Network, in a supporting role (that he was good in), and Mirror Mirror, which was all sorts of terrible (and he did nothing to save). Giving him his own franchise should have given all the Hollywood executives involved pause. He was an admittedly good-looking guy who has made nothing more than a minor splash at best in his previous work. What did execs see in him?

To be blunt: they saw a man’s man. And Hollywood is convinced it’s short on those.

Simply put, execs are obviously tired of the boyish male stars that dominated the late Aughts. Most big action tentpoles are being given to the same older stars who made their careers on such films, Jason Statham and The Rock being archetypal examples. Even Vin Diesel is bleeding the Fast & Furious franchise dry. Older actors previously unassociated with the action game are even getting into it — coming to theaters near you soon enough, Liam Neeson in Taken 14.

But Hollywood needs younger hypermasculine stars to fill these roles as the current crop gets older. Think about it: Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth are tied up in being Avengers (Hemsworth also wrapped up in the female-skewing Snow White and the Huntsman frachise) and likely will be for years. Jeremy Renner is too, and he’s also failed at the franchise game already (his Bourne film didn’t exactly hold up to the titular Legacy). And while Chris Pine might do fine work in his own franchise, he’s never managed to truly break out.

So Hammer was chosen to fill that “four-quadrant man” role: the type of action star who can headline a big franchise and be a romantic lead, too. On that, look no further than his sex-obsessed interview with Playboy, where he couldn’t stop talking about all his inventive lovemaking with his wife. That was such a bizarre move — off-putting for its bluntness and his unattainablity alike — that I’m convinced it was a miscalculation on his publicist’s part in an attempt to make him a sex symbol.

Hammer’s quick falter is likely tremendously disappointing for execs, especially considering their wunderkind, Channing Tatum, was proven mortal last weekend when his White House Down opened to considerably less than expected. (It opened behind the female-driven The Heat, but of course, absolutely no one in Hollywood will pay attention to that lesson.)

None of this is fresh analysis — I’m just restating what has clearly been an issue for a while. But here’s a newer question: Why are execs so obsessed with recapturing the past?

There is nothing wrong with the boyish male star-dominated Hollywood. Arguably, that system works more effectively than the antiquated “four-quadrant man” strategy. Look at successes like this summer’s Now You See Me — a surprise hit by anyone’s definition. Sure, it may not have been marketed solely on the strength of star Jesse Eisenberg, but he’s prominent in ads, and it’s working. Or look at smaller movies like Juno (starring Michael Cera) or The Social Network (with Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield), which made big grosses on the back of great talent. The latter even got Garfield a superhero franchise — though how good he is as The Amazing Spider-Man is a different conversation entirely.

Visit any collegiate theatre arts program today, and you’ll notice that they’re not stacked with the next Tatums. Far from it — these are the next Garfields, the next Eisenbergs, the next Tellers. Hell, the next Neil Patrick Harris is out there, and his lack of success on the big screen isn’t due to a lack of charm or fanbase.

On Harris in particular: there’s another component worth its own blog post, and that’s Hollywood’s continued discomfort with gay leading men. Consider the strange recloseting of Luke Evans when he was promoting The Three Musketeers. Or the brazen rewriting of Tom Hardy’s history of having sex with men. As stated, this is all worth its own post, but it’s just food for thought as to how it relates to the greater theme that Hollywood thinks men must be traditionally masculine to be a star.

Regardless of all this, Hammer and, to a lesser extent, Tatum, may not be filling their potential up to Hollywood’s ridiculously high standard, but don’t expect them to stop getting cast. Execs have clearly made an investment, and they’re sticking with their new golden men — no matter how tarnished that gold may be, or how ineffective the strategy is.

Follow Kevin on Twitter at @kevinpokeeffe.

Teen Wolf Gives ‘Gay-Friendly’ a Furry Face

No show makes me feel so absurd by loving it than Teen Wolf does. A wall-to-wall celebration of beefcake, melodrama and more supernatural than I’ve ever wanted in a TV show, the MTV series based off the Michael J. Fox ’80s flick is made for GIF walls and Tumblr shrines – not usually my deal.

But what started as a guilty pleasure (and thanks to many critics comparing it favorably to another great MTV show, Awkward) has ended up with me obsessively keeping up with teenaged lycanthrope Scott McCall (Tyler Posey) and his merry band of fellow friends and wolves completely guilt-free. And all of it is owed to one man: Creator Jeff Davis, who has cultivated the gay-friendliest show on television.

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Acceptance in sports: Not quite there yet

Photo Credit: Associated Press

Photo Credit: Associated Press

Originally published in the Los Angeles Loyolan. For original, please refer to: Acceptance in sports: Not quite there yet – Los Angeles Loyolan.

In a country that once embraced gay-bashing and made bullying based on sexual orientation popular, it’s hard not to be proud of the recent swell of support for LGBT individuals in this country. Marriage equality is a cultural buzz phrase. The promise of the It Gets Better campaign seems to be coming true for so many young people growing into strong, confident individuals. And in the world of professional sports, NFL players are supposedly considering coming out.

Except, maybe they aren’t.

Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, long on record as a marriage equality proponent, told the Baltimore Sun last week that he knew of “up to four players” in the NFL who were in talks to come out together.

“It would make a major splash and take the pressure off one guy,” he said. “It would be a monumental day if a handful or a few guys come out.”

An announcement like this was guaranteed to make waves and have LGBT advocates hopeful for real change. So of course, it took all of one day before Ayanbadejo started retracting his statement.

“Potentially, it’s possible, it’s fathomable, that they could possibly do something together, and break a story together,” he told Anderson Cooper on CNN. “And one of them had voiced that he would like to break his story with someone else and not do it alone. … Not all these athletes are in the NFL. Some are in other sports as well.”

He might as well have said, “Hey, so everything I said yesterday? Forget about it. Never mind. My bad.”

Such developments are disheartening, particularly when the world of professional sports could really use a big push forward on the path to acceptance.

Boston University Professor Robert Volk once called professional sports “the last bastion of homophobia.” While I think that’s inaccurate (I’m pretty sure Virginia, which recently passed the Crimes Against Nature law banning sodomy, has “last bastion” status locked down), it does reflect an ugly truth about the heteronormative culture of sports: Things aren’t changing as briskly as it may seem.

Yes, there are allies like Ayanbadejo and Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe petitioning publicly for equal rights. And yes, there are plenty of teams, like the Boston Red Sox and the San Francisco Giants, that made It Gets Better videos to support victims of bullying due to LGBT status. But right now, all this amounts to is a more supportive public face. This begs the question: If this environment is so supportive, then why are gay players not coming out of the nearest closet they find?

The truth is that all the ‘It Gets Better’ messages in the world can’t take gay slurs out of locker rooms in a flash. The Ayanbadejos and Kluwes are incredible allies, but they are two men out of almost 2,000 in the NFL alone. Equality and acceptance are trending topics, but behind the curtain, we have no idea how well these values are truly espoused.

Athletes and pundits need to stop pretending everything is resolved already or engage in wishful thinking about groups of athletes about to come out of the closet. Instead, they should focus on tangible goals that will go a long way to creating the equal culture they so desperately want to believe is already here.In fact, professional sports figures would do well to pay attention to their college brethren. The NCAA took major steps forward with the release of “Champions of Respect,” its guide for creating a more accepting climate for LGBT individuals.

The guide is full of instructions and guidelines for working with LGBT athletes and coaches, it offers great suggestions for coaches and athletes, including educating themselves about LGBT issues in sports and monitoring the use of anti-gay slurs. These things may seem elementary to you and me, but for a culture that has long suffered from these issues, they really aren’t. If the guide is effectively implemented, it could signal real change in the college sports climate.

I get it, I really do: Equal rights for LGBT individuals are having a moment. I’m absolutely thrilled. The idea that we could see major steps forward on marriage equality as early as June is stunning to someone like me, a Texan kid who grew up wondering if there was anyone who understood how he really felt and would stand up for him. But attempting to catch up to the cultural trend in one fell swoop without going through the proper steps isn’t going to work. Equality is most effective when everyone understands not only the what, but the why.

Four professional athletes coming out together is an incredible idea, and one that, if it ever came to pass, would inspire so many LGBT individuals playing sports. But creating false hope, which I’m sure was not Ayanbadejo’s intention, doesn’t inspire, and it doesn’t really help create acceptance. Because the sports world isn’t there yet.