Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on Tuesday successfully completed an 11-minute trip into space onboard a rocket built by his company Blue Origin. Donning a blue suit and a cowboy hat, Bezos addressed a conference after his brief trip into space, during which he thanked the workers of Amazon for "paying" for his trip. However, the well-intended gratitude has failed to resonate with critics who have accused the billionaire of being "tone-deaf".
"I want to thank every Amazon employee, and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all this," the 57-year-old Bezos said during a news conference, after becoming the second billionaire in just over a week to ride in his own spacecraft. The statement immediately stirred a backlash on the internet as people pointed out reports claiming inhumane working conditions and lack of breaks that Amazon workers are forced to work under.
Former secretary of labour and a professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, Robert Reich wrote that Bezos has crushed unionising attempts for decades. "Amazon workers don't need Bezos to thank them. They need him to stop union-busting — and pay them what they deserve," Reich said on Twitter.