Apple: Dr Dre Is Not Brendan Eich

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With the announcement that they were buying Beats, Apple once again made history, apparently without controversy. Acquiring the popular headphones manufacturing company seemed like a no-brainer for many. Especially since there is a lucrative music subscription service involved, but apparently there is a bit of social awkwardness over the entire deal: Apple CEO Tim Cook is gay and Dr Dre, the rapper and producer with his name attached to Beats, is a homophobe. This disparity has only been marginally commented on by the press, but already one comparison has been made between Dr Dre and Brendan Eich, the former Mozilla CEO who stepped down due to his oppositional stance on homosexuality. There is a problem with this comparison between Apple’s newest acquisition and Mozilla’s former executive, however: Dr Dre is not Brendan Eich.

First and foremost, the difference between Dr Dre and Brendan Eich lies in the role that both men play for their respective companies. Dr Dre is joining Apple as part of the $3 billion deal over the headphones and music subscription service. There is no indication about how much say he will have in the company’s policy, but since he is affiliated most closely with Beats, he will probably retain a role in that side of the business. Overall, the tech giant is still run by Tim Cook, the openly gay CEO who was once labeled as 2013’s most powerful gay man by Out Magazine. Unlike Eich who was actively in charge of company policy and was the face of an entire brand, Dr Dre is a marginal executive entity. He will probably not have the ability to make his homophobia a ruling order no matter what he continues to sing about. Brendan Eich probably would not have made a homophobic policy either (a debatable prospect in the minds of some employees, perhaps), but the outcry from those under him was enough to force his resignation.

Another difference is that Dr Dre is not part of Silicon Valley culture. He may have helped start a tech company with Beats, but he is not part of what makes tech companies really tick: geeks and nerds. Because he is something of an outsider in that culture, he can have little effect on it. Brendan Eich, however, is the creator of the programming language Java and was Mozilla’s chief technology officer. He was an integral part of Silicon Valley and its culture. Therefore, he was directly answerable to it and answer he did, but Apple’s new member Dr Dre is a new face and something of an outsider, and perhaps Silicon Valley’s lack of a response to the musician’s homophobia is just a further example that he is not Brendan Eich.

If Dr Dre is not answerable to the gay-friendly culture of Silicon Valley, who is he answerable to? As a hip hop artist, his ties are closest to that part of the music industry and, until recently, it has not been the most inclusive community regarding LGBT people. The history of hip hop music is rife with homophobes and homophobic lyrics. Even family friendly rapper Will Smith one told AIDS victims to “be quiet” in one of his songs during an era when the disease was killing people every day as an epidemic. Recently, however, hip hop has become more accepting of the gay community. Macklemore’s hit song “Same Love” was perhaps the first hip hop song to directly and positively address the issue of gay equality. Frank Ocean, a Grammy Award winner, also came out as part of the LGBT community. The relationship between hip hop and gay rights is in flux as changes move them towards mutual acceptance.

So what is the real issue with Dr Dre, the gay community, and this new deal with Apple? The media periphery’s outrage over the lack of outrage over Dr Dre’s homophobia is not so much a legitimate concern as an attempt to stir up trouble. Eich’s resignation was big news and Dr Dre’s response to a similar issue would also be headlines. Unfortunately, Apple dropping a cool $3 billion is big enough news that anything else is really just a sideshow. Besides that, the two men are simply not comparable. Dr Dre is not the CEO of the i-everything company, he does not have the final say on company policy, and he is a musician who is answerable to a completely different community than Eich. Simply put, Apple’s Dr Dre is not Brendan Eich and that is why his fate will not be the same.

Opinion by Lydia Bradbury

Sources:
Ben Swann
Gawker
Nerve
The Daily Mail
Apple
Time
The New Yorker

7 Responses to "Apple: Dr Dre Is Not Brendan Eich"

  1. Concrete   September 9, 2014 at 6:08 am

    And finally Maggs you’re a homophobe. Go away.

    Reply
  2. Concrete   September 9, 2014 at 5:58 am

    And one more thing Maggs – you’re right. Eich had every right to make that donation and the employees had the right to respond accordingly. The knife cuts both ways.

    Reply
  3. Concrete   September 9, 2014 at 5:54 am

    Magss show us where Obama made a monetary contribution to prop 8 like that homophobe Eich. This blogger owes Eich and DD nothing let alone an apology.

    Reply
  4. jj2xjj   June 4, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    This article is beyond stupid – Dre IS Gay!

    Reply
  5. T. Stark   June 4, 2014 at 6:57 am

    +1 million Bill Maggs

    Reply
  6. Bill Maggs   June 2, 2014 at 6:53 am

    There are so many errors and distortions in this article that it almost made me laugh. But then it made me mad. Brendan Eich contributed money to a campaign that was about same sex marriage, not about “opposition” to homosexuality. In fact his political action, not speech, but protected constitutionally nonetheless), was representative of a view that was identical to that of President Obama until 2012 and the 55% of Californians that voted for it in 2008 when Eich wrote his $1000 check. By the way, Eich was the main inventor of Javascript, which makes this Web page work, not Java.

    OTOH, Dr. Dre has a long history up to the present day of really being homophobic. If I try to parse the author’s convoluted argument it appears she is saying that its okay that Dre actively hates gays because his “culture” is different that Silicon Valley’s, and that his role won’t be influential enough to matter. This is the most racist apologism I have ever heard, as well as being amazingly insulting to all concerned. She should apologize to Eich, Dre, Apple, and her readers for this ill-considered post, and consider submitting her blog posts to an editor.

    Reply
    • Parker Celica   June 3, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      +1 million Bill Maggs

      Reply

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