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Is Bernie Sanders mad over Amazon Pay meme? How 'mittens' joke sparked row and forced tech giant to delete tweet

After Amazon Pay joined in the social media trend of ‘Bernie memes’, they earned an overwhelming backlash from Bernie supporters and AOC
Bernie Sanders at the presidential inauguration on January 20 (Getty Images)
Bernie Sanders at the presidential inauguration on January 20 (Getty Images)

Soon after Amazon Pay joined in the social media trend of ‘Bernie memes’, they earned an overwhelming backlash from Bernie supporters as well as Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In the end, the controversial tweet was deleted from the official Twitter account of Amazon Pay.

Did Bernie see his memes?

The ‘Bernie memes’ went viral after a photograph of Senator Bernie Sanders at the Biden-Harris inauguration surfaced. He could be seen there sitting aloof on a chair, donning a brown overcoat and brown-and-white woolen mittens, with a mask on his face. The photo soon created a flurry of memes online with users photoshopping him into uncontextual situations.

Twitterati had a field day placing Bernie amid the Avengers or with our favorite 'Sex and the City' girls or even with Forrest Gump on that white bench. In fact, one user even created a site within hours that lets you put the Bernie photo anywhere on a Google Street View image. When appearing on ‘Late Night with Seth Meyers’, Bernie himself was questioned by host Meyers if he was aware of his photograph generating a meme trend. Bernie clarified the reason behind his now-iconic pose, “I was just sitting there trying to keep warm, trying to pay attention to what was going on.” "Yes, @BernieSanders has seen your memes," tweeted Seth Meyers. 


He later sportingly admitted seeing the memes, but in classic Bernie Sanders-style, he chose to take the moment to talk about the schoolteacher from Vermont who knitted his famous mittens. He added that the woman was overwhelmed by the attention her handmade mittens have got and was flooded with orders. 

The Amazon Pay controversy

Around 10:27 am on January 22, the official Amazon Pay Twitter handle decided to join in on the Bernie trend to promote their app. In a rather bland representation, they posted a photo showing Bernie on the chair with the clipart of a bookshelf and a sleeping cat in the background, while the banner read - “How to register for Amazon Pay”. They paired the tweet with the caption - “It’s that easy. Thanks.”

However, the tweet did not sit well with hundreds of Twitter users who wasted no time in pointing out how Bernie Sanders has always been vocal about the toxic work culture and low wages at Amazon.

In fact, just a day ago, Bernie had tweeted this: “Amazon doesn’t want its workers to form a union because unionized workers have:
- higher wages
- better benefits
- more control over their lives
If Amazon workers in Alabama vote to form a union, that will benefit every worker in America.”


Users asked how Amazon can turn a blind eye towards Bernie’s vehement criticism of their controversial work policies, and yet have the audacity to use him as a marketing meme. Some users also reminded Amazon about the past controversy regarding their alleged payment of $0 in federal income tax. 

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined in to remind Amazon about their negative stance on the unionization of workers. “Cool meme now you have to let your workers unionize,” she tweeted replying to Amazon Pay.


Within a short while, the tweet at the center of the controversy was deleted from the official Amazon Pay handle. AOC still did not forget to remind Amazon about hers as well as Bernie’s opinion - to allow their workers to form workers’ unions. "They deleted it. Still gotta let them unionize though," she wrote as a reply on the thread. 


Users were elated to see the Amazon Pay meme deleted and rejoiced to celebrate Amazon yielding to the power of social media. "I’m not going to lie, y’all. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Twitter shut down Amazon Pay after they tried to play the Bernie game. But AOC is forever the cherry on top. #youredoingitwrong #nomemesforyou," one user wrote. Another user wrote, "BTW if you're curious why Amazon Pay ripped that tweet down so fast, it's because they royally fucked up and posted what appeared to be an advertisement from them for their service endorsed by Bernie Sanders. Which, as you can guess, is a BIG LAWSUIT waiting to happen."