The Washington Post revealed Monday that staffers at Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin are fed up with the “toxic” workplace culture — and have been for some time.
The Post cited a 2019 memo from on outgoing mid-level employee to Bezos and other executives, which was reviewed by the paper and verified by two former employees. It said, “Our current culture is toxic to our success and many can see it spreading throughout the company.”
Per the Post, the leadership at the space flight company has received “a number of warnings” over the past few years. Those warnings included employees’ concerns that the company culture was dysfunctional, staff had low morale and dealt with high turnover and ultimately, Blue Origin was not competing with Elon Musk’s SpaceX. A representative for the company did not immediately return a request for comment, but a spokesperson did tell the Post that Blue Origin takes “all claims seriously and we have no tolerance for discrimination or harassment of any kind. Where we substantiate allegations of misconduct under our anti-harassment, anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation policy we take the appropriate action — up to and including termination of employment.”
One former employee even said management embodies an “authoritarian bro culture” that is particularly condescending and humiliating to female employees.
The Washington Post’s story paints a broad picture of issues at Blue Origin, but late last month, 21 current and former employees posted an essay highlighting their concerns. The essay was headed up by former head of employee communications Alexandra Abrams and the other 20 current and former staffers opted to anonymously co-sign. Abrams said the company makes employees sign non-disclosure agreements, ignores safety concerns and, as the Post also reported, is sexist. She pointed to a senior executive who was reported to human resources for sexual harassment multiple times and another who called female employees “baby girl” and “sweetheart.”
Abrams also appeared on CBS News to discuss the allegations.