ENS dumps director of operations in condemnation of homophobic tweets

by Lillian Wagner
ENS dumps director of operations in condemnation of homophobic tweets

True Names Limited, the nonprofit behind distributed domain protocol Ethereum Name Service, announced it would be ending its contract with director of operations Brantly Millegan after many uncovered his previously posted anti-LBGTQIA tweets.

On Feb. 6, the decentralized autonomous organization of Ethereum Name Service, or ENS, asked users to weigh in on what actions, if any, should be taken against Millegan in regards to a May 2016 tweet in which he said “homosexual acts are evil” and “transgenderism doesn’t exist.” The DAO said some had proposed suspending Millegan from his leadership roles at ENS, voting to remove him as a director of the ENS foundation, and asking him to step down from his position.

Though the DAO did not officially vote on any resolution as of the time of publication, ENS founder and developer Nick Johnson announced earlier today that True Names Limited had terminated Millegan’s contract given his position was “no longer tenable.” Twitter also deleted the homophobic tweets and suspended Millegan’s account, preventing him from tweeting, liking, and retweeting content. 

“Many of you were hurt by Brantly’s comments over the past 24 hours, and we strongly believe that ENS should be an inclusive community,” said Johnson. “Going forward we’ll continue to do everything we can to ensure that remains the case.”

Before losing access to his Twitter account, Millegan stood by his 2016 statement, implying it was in accordance with his Catholic faith. He later claimed in a Discord discussion that he had “never excluded anyone from ENS” based on their identity or beliefs.

“I don’t think it’s practical or moral for the web3 industry to exclude the many traditional-minded Christians, Muslims, jews, and others who agree with me,” said Millegan on Discord.

However, the 2016 tweet does not stand alone in terms of controversial statements. Millegan reiterated his views on homosexual acts in a 2018 thread over birth control on the social media platform, calling them “gravely immoral.” In addition, a November 2016 tweet from the ENS operations director shows he posted a story from conservative news outlet National Review promoting a questionable narrative about racial bias.

“What I believe is the mainstream traditional Christian positions held by the world’s largest religion,” said Millegan on Feb. 5. “It’s not exactly fringe.”

It’s unclear how many within the ENS community were in favor of Millegan’s removal, but Johnson’s termination of Millegan’s contract suggests a significant number were in favor of doing so. Eleftherios Karapetsas, an ENS delegate, said in the governance discussion forum that Millegan should be given the opportunity to respond to the community outrage, but “if indeed he still truly holds the belief that a group of people should not have the right to exist, or harbors hate towards them I don’t believe that being part of the leadership of this project is appropriate.”

He added on Twitter:

“You can disagree with someone and still co-exist as long as neither tries to impose their views on the other person or hurt them for what they believe.”

Related: ENS’ director of operations says that DAO-based governance ‘has always been the plan’

Launched in 2017, the ENS protocol allows users to register domain names ending in “.eth” and direct them to Ethereum wallet addresses. The project distributed 100 million of its ENS governance tokens in a November 2021 airdrop.

Cointelegraph reached out to Brantly Millegan, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.