Jeff Bezos added astronaut to his resume when he went on an outer space joyride on Tuesday. However, that didn’t stop him from getting into hot water with those back on Earth.
Amazon customers and employees came down hard on the billionaire for a comment he made during a press conference following his brief stint in outer space. He thanked “every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer” during the conference because “you guys paid for all this.”
He added: “So seriously, for every Amazon customer out there, and every Amazon employee, thank you from the bottom of my heart, very much. It’s very appreciated.”
Although the intent was good, people quickly flocked to social media to air their grievances with the former CEO.
Twitter user Jules Swain tweeted, “I don’t buy very much from Amazon (certainly not books), but after seeing Jeff Bezos & his gang laugh about his minimum-wage employees & customers paying for his trip into space, I just canceled my Amazon Prime account.”
Dr. Michelle Bendeck added: “I find it appalling that during a global pandemic, Bezos takes a cruise into space, and thanks his customers who were forced to buy from Amazon, and employees, many of whom were sickened and some died, for paying for his joy ride.”
Amazon Customers & Employees Won’t Forget Jeff Bezos’ Missteps
People have repeatedly accused Jeff Bezos of not paying his fair share of taxes. Meanwhile, Amazon has come under fire over its treatment of staff. Bezos faced heavy scrutiny for how the company treated its employees during the coronavirus pandemic.
Bezos, the wealthiest person globally, flew to space Tuesday with his company Blue Origin on the first flight aboard the New Shepard rocket. The 10-minute flight celebrated multiple firsts. Bezos became the wealthiest man in space, while Wally Funk became the oldest crew member and Oliver Daemen the youngest.
Bezos previously said he paid for Blue Origin after selling $1 billion in Amazon stock each year.
Although Tuesday marked a historic day for Bezos, that didn’t erase the criticism he’s received for his business practices. In 2020, the company was under an onslaught of disapproval after workers protested the conditions at a Staten Island warehouse. At the time, COVID-19 cases soared.
At the time, many Americans were under strict lockdown. Yet, at the same time, warehouse workers in Amazon’s fulfillment centers were classified as essential workers and continued working throughout the pandemic.
As a result, enraged staff staged walkouts because the company was not protecting its employees from the virus. Meanwhile, Amazon share prices skyrocketed, making Bezos more money as stay-at-home orders forced more people to shop on Amazon.
In response, Amazon introduced several measures to protect workers, including daily temperature checks, better cleaning, social distancing, disinfectant spray, and personal protective gear.