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Report: Bezos blasts reports of abusive Amazon culture


Seattle – Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of, is reportedly blasting an article in the New York Times that accuses the retailer of having a ruthless and even abusive workplace culture. According to CNBC, in an internal memo (excerpt below), the article is inaccurate and goes beyond “isolated anecdotes.”

The article itself is unflattering to say the least. Among the practices listed in the article, which is based on interviews with more than 100 current and former employees across a wide variety of roles and departments, are open encouragement of employees harshly criticizing each other’s ideas in meetings and secretly sending negative feedback to each other’s managers. Emails are said to be regularly sent after midnight, with follow-up texts if there is not a prompt response.

In addition, employees interviewed described workloads so extreme they led to ulcers, lengthy conference calls on Thanksgiving and Easter Sunday, unfair treatment of employees with health or family issues, and the requirement to memorize 50 to 60 pages’ worth of corporate metrics. The article also describes a workplace culture where employees are encouraged to sabotage and scheme against each other, and where open weeping can occur.

However, the article is not uniformly negative. Some employees did credit Amazon for encouraging and rewarding innovation, allowing low-level employees to contribute to major projects (such as drone delivery) and providing quick advancement to star performers. Pay is said to be competitive and a number of workers said Amazon helps you become much more productive and valuable as an employee.

Bezos himself has publicly acknowledged many times that Amazon is a demanding workplace designed to discover and nurture the talent of top employees, and that it is not for everyone. However, he lambasted the description of his company offered by the New York Times.

“The article doesn't describe the Amazon I know or the caring Amazonians I work with every day,” Bezos said in the memo. “But if you know of any stories like those reported, I want you to escalate to HR. You can also email me directly at [email protected]. Even if it's rare or isolated, our tolerance for any such lack of empathy needs to be zero.

“The article goes further than reporting isolated anecdotes. It claims that our intentional approach is to create a soulless, dystopian workplace where no fun is had and no laughter heard. Again, I don't recognize this Amazon and I very much hope you don't, either. More broadly, I don't think any company adopting the approach portrayed could survive, much less thrive, in today's highly competitive tech hiring market. The people we hire here are the best of the best. You are recruited every day by other world-class companies, and you can work anywhere you want.”

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