Jeff Bezos Is Trying To Rebrand As A Good Guy, But Don’t Be Fooled
"So Amazon can give to charity but not change HR methods or increase wages..."
Billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has pledged to give away the majority of his wealth within his lifetime — just don’t ask him to elaborate on the details.
According to Forbes, Bezos is worth a quiet $185.2 billion at the time of publishing, which means he is hoarding more wealth than several countries and sits pretty as the fourth richest person in the world (behind Elon Musk, Bernard Arnault, and Gautam Adani). But after decades of leaning into that villain persona, Bezos has revealed that he will donate a majority of his wealth; while remaining tight-lipped about to whom his money will be going and when.
In a new interview with CNN alongside his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez, Bezos said he is working on building the “capacity” to give away his hundred billion dollars. Who knew it was so hard to give away money? Not I!
“The hard part is figuring out how to do it in a levered way,” explained Bezos. “It’s not easy.
“Building Amazon was not easy, it took a lot of hard work and very smart teammates, and I’m finding — and Lauren’s finding — that philanthropy is very similar.”
“There are a bunch of ways that I think you could do ineffective things, too. So you have to think about it carefully and you have to have brilliant people on the team.”
As part of his pledge, Bezos has promised to donate $15 billion USD to fight climate change — a problem he has long helped to sustain.
This is the second year in a row that Amazon’s pollution has grown by double digits, with 71.54 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide generated last year alone. So despite co-founding The Climate Pledge in 2019, Amazon’s carbon emissions have actually gotten worse.
No, the irony of Bezos — a man notorious for promoting over-consumption and the founder of a major climate polluting company — pledging to fight the climate change he played no small part in contributing to, is not lost on me.
While billionaires giving away their exorbitant wealth is unequivocally a good thing for the world, Bezos has been criticised by unions for participating in this grandiose display of philanthropy while Amazon workers continue to fight for fair working conditions.
“So Amazon can give to charity but not change HR methods or increase wages… It is always a wonder when ‘Philanthropists’ make donations based upon their worker’s toil,” said senior organiser for the GMB union Steve Garelick in the wake of the announcement.
For reference, Amazon was recently forced to apologise after denying that delivery drivers were sometimes forced to pee in plastic water bottles.
On a personal level, Bezos was also recently sued by his housekeeper over working conditions inside his own home.
He also paid precisely zero dollars in federal income tax in 2007 and 2011, which undoubtedly helped him create the exorbitant wealth he’s now promising to give away.
Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that just hours after his philanthropic announcement, it was reported that Amazon is planning to sack 10,000 workers. If Amazon actually does sack 10,000 workers, it would be the largest job cut in the company’s history.
But don’t you worry about that, because Bezos is one of the good guys at last.
Photo credit: Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images