'Tone deaf' Jeff Bezos slammed as Bernie Sanders demands he pay taxes: '100% a douche!'

Jeff Bezos thanked Amazon customers and employees for 'paying' for his trip to space and social media lost it


                            'Tone deaf' Jeff Bezos slammed as Bernie Sanders demands he pay taxes: '100% a douche!'
Bernie Sanders was among the many who slammed Jeff Bezos's message of thanks (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Jeff Bezos's trip to space might have lasted all of 11 minutes, but the backlash against another billionaire in space is still going strong. As if flying to space in a rocket designed by his own company wasn't enough, Bezos decided to express his gratitude to Amazon customers and employees, quipping how they "paid" for his space trip.

This has left social media furious, with not just the regular public slamming Bezos for being "tone deaf," but popular politicians are now hounding the billionaire for not paying his taxes as the state of workers continues to remain miserable in his company.

Bezos made his flight on a craft created by Blue Origin - a company he founded by selling $1 billion in Amazon stocks each year. From criticism on his snug blue flight suit to the cowboy hat he wore for some reasons, social media picked apart every aspect of the space flight - including the rocket's phallic shape. But regular Twitter comedians weren't the only ones slamming Bezos as Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and even Elizabeth Warren expressed utter disgust at the the stunt. 

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It was however Bezos's speech after he landed back on Earth that left everybody shocked, especially at his poor attempt at humor. Laughing at a panel with three other crew members who accompanied him, Bezos thanked "every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer, because you guys paid for all this." The multi-billionaire added, "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."

It's worth noting that Amazon drew a lot of scrutiny last year when coronavirus cases soared in a Staten Island warehouse and workers complained of conditions they had to work in. As the country remained in lockdown, Amazon warehouse workers were classed as essential workers and continued working on the frontline with its attendant risks. So naturally, Bezos was slammed for his comments, as fury sparked over the long criticized working conditions that Amazon employees allegedly face, with some of them not even so much as allowed to relieve themselves during their shifts.

Oliver Daemen, Wally Funk,  and Mark Bezos accompanied Jeff Bezos to space on July 20 (Blue Origin)

Others pointed out how amidst a pandemic, as businesses and laborers suffered financially, Bezos not only profited from the situation but also mocked people's need of online retail with local stores closed for months on end. It offended people that Bezos thanked the masses so casually for paying for his dream project, while having reportedly paid nothing in federal income taxes in 2007 and 2011. Bezos allegedly avoided paying a cent by citing that he's incurring more losses than profits. He even claimed and received a $4000 tax credit for children, which is supposed to go to families earning less than $100,000. With all this in mind, some social media users went so far as to even cancel their Amazon Prime subscription as a sign of revolt against the rich.

"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 cancelled my Amazon Prime account," wrote one user. Another chimed in: "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." Others slammed Bezos for being "amazingly tone deaf and 100% a douche!" with his comments about customers and employees. Long-time Amazon customers also backed out of their support, tweeting: "Disappointed at this tone deaf Space Cowboy routine. @JeffBezos, you can do much better. And I say this as a 23-year customer."



 



 



 



 

Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez retweeted a post about Bezos's thank-you message, writing: "Yes, Amazon workers did pay for this. With lower wages, union busting, a frenzied and inhumane workplace, and delivery drivers not having health insurance during a pandemic. And Amazon customers are paying for it with Amazon abusing their market power to hurt small business."

Sanders too criticized Bezos's brazen display of billionaire status by demanding the retail-mogul pay his taxes correctly, or at least pay his staff on Earth what they deserve. "Am I supposed to be impressed that a billionaire went to space while he's paid zero in federal income taxes some years and the workers at his company struggle to afford their medical bills, rent, and food for their kids?" the Vermont senator asked, adding: "Nope. It's time to invest in working people here on Earth."



 



 

Another critic was Democratic Sen Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who retweeted the clip of Bezos expressing thanks, adding: "Jeff Bezos forgot to thank all the hardworking Americans who actually paid taxes to keep this country running while he and Amazon paid nothing." In a follow up tweet, Warren even urged people to sign a three-step petition to change the government's tax laws. "I'm pushing for three changes to our tax laws—a #WealthTax, a Real Corporate Profits Tax, and long-term funding for the IRS to go after wealthy tax cheats—to make billionaires & mega-corporations start paying their fair share," she wrote. 

In a third tweet, Warren added: "It's time for Jeff Bezos to take care of business right here on Earth and pay his fair share in taxes." Rep Katherine Clark of Massachusetts also tweeted: "You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know it’s time for billionaires to pay their fair share." Rep Adam Schiff of California tweeted: "Listen, I'm all for space exploration and it must have been an amazing view. But maybe – and I'm just spitballing here – if Amazon and other companies paid their fair share in taxes, we could lift all kids — if not into space — at least out of poverty. Sincerely, Earthlings." David Choi meanwhile simply quipped, "I'd like a refund," about Bezos claiming customers paid for his trip.