This story has been updated to reflect Amazon’s response.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos threw a lavish concert for thousands of his employees last night in Seattle — but not everyone was impressed.
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For a post-Prime Day celebration, around 45,000 employees gathered for performances by Katy Perry and Lil Nas X at CenturyLink Field, where the Seattle Seahawks play.
In addition to posing for photos with the entertainers backstage, Bezos gave a thank you speech to attendees.
“It was another great Prime Day. I remember it was just a little over 20 years ago, I was driving all the packages to the post office myself. That wasn’t that long ago,” the entrepreneur said on stage. “When I look out at this crowd, I am in awe of what you guys do — in awe of what you guys do. Not just on Prime Day, but every day. The curiosity, the passion, the hard work, everything that I see when I get to work with you guys, it’s just amazing to me and it’s awe inspiring.”
While the event was meant as a thank you for workers, netizens criticized Bezos for throwing a large-scale concert instead of offering pay raises.
“How cute, richest man in the World Who pays no taxes, throws himself a Post Prime Day Party,” read a tweet with more than 60 retweets and 100-plus likes. “He did let some select employees in Bet they would like a Union, more Jeffy Where they would have workers protections Living wages, and Health Benefits.”
How cute, richest man in the World
Who pays no taxes, throws himself a
Post Prime Day Party
He did let some select employees in
Bet they would like a Union, more Jeffy
Where they would have workers protections
Living wages, and Health Benefits https://t.co/i5rzA5Rubi
— Luna Lovegood ✨💥✨ (@LunaLuvgood2020) August 21, 2019
“Instead of paying certain artists for an Amazon Prime Day concert, Amazon could have, you know, used that money to pay their workers a fair wage,” read a post from @synthiat.
Instead of paying certain artists for an Amazon Prime Day concert, Amazon could have, you know, used that money to pay their workers a fair wage 🤷
— Synthia T. (@synthiat) July 15, 2019
“This one was on Amazon, ironically,” tweeted @JenLongaker, an Amazon employee. “They don’t give me enough hours or benefits but hey, I’ll take a free concert any day! I’d rather have that [fixed deposit] tho!”
This one was on Amazon, ironically😂 They don't give me enough hours or benefits but hey, I'll take a free concert any day! I'd rather have that FD tho!
— Jen Longaker (@JenLongaker) August 21, 2019
Amazon has long faced criticism for its treatment of workers — with reports of grueling pace, strict hourly quotas and strenuous physical labor.
While the e-tailer pledged to up its minimum wage to $15 in October, complaints over working conditions have continued.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, claimed in June that the e-comm giant pays its warehouse workers “starvation wages.”
In a statement to FN, Amazon denied mistreatment toward its workers.
“As a company, we work hard to provide a safe, quality work environment for the 250,000 hourly employees across Amazon’s U.S. facilities. We provide a $15 minimum wage for all U.S. hourly employees, opportunities for career growth, industry-leading benefits, and hands-on training using emerging technology,” the statement read. “We encourage anyone to compare our pay, benefits, and workplace to other major employers across the country by taking a tour of a fulfillment center.”
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