Employees accuse Blue Origin’s leadership of creating sexist work environments for female employees, ignoring safety and environmental concerns
A group of 21 former and current Blue Origin employees have written an essay arguing Jeff Bezos’s aerospace company is “stuck in a toxic past.”
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The group, led by Alexandra Abrams, former Blue Origin head of employee communications, accuses the company’s leadership of creating a sexist work environment for female employees, suppressing internal feedback, and ignoring safety and environmental concerns.
He argues that workplace culture has “taken a toll on the mental health of many of those who made Blue Origin’s operations possible,” citing some employees who “fear the potential consequences of speaking out against the wealthiest person on the planet.” and others who have “experienced periods of suicidal thoughts after manipulating their passion for space in such a toxic environment.”
“You can’t create a culture of safety and a culture of fear at the same time,” Abrams told “CBS Mornings” in an interview. “I’ve gotten away with it enough that I’m not so afraid that they shut me up anymore.”
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Essay, published on lioness, notes that workforce gender differences are common in the space industry, but they are “manifested in a particular brand of sexism” at Blue Origin.
Employees allege that a senior executive in Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith’s “loyal inner circle” was reported to Human Resources multiple times for sexual harassment. Instead of taking action against him, Smith “personally made him a member of the hiring committee to fill a senior HR role in 2019,” the essay claims.
Another former executive in charge of staff recruitment was accused of treating women often condescendingly and abusively, calling them “baby girl,” “baby doll,” or “sweetheart,” and inquiring about their dating lives. has gone. The employee, who reportedly had a “close personal relationship with Bezos,” was let go after physically groping a female subordinate.
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In addition, the group alleges that when employees, including some of Blue Origin’s engineers, spoke about security concerns, they were either forced or offered payment in exchange for signing more restrictive non-disclosure agreements.
According to the essay, the Blue Origin leadership “demonstrated growing impatience” with New Shepard last year. The reduced flight schedule and routine reported the company’s goal to increase from a few flights per year to more than 40.
The staff wrote, “When Jeff Bezos flew to space this July, we didn’t share his enthusiasm. Instead, many of us watched with a sense of unease. Few of us looked to see it. couldn’t bear it.” “Competing with other billionaires – and ‘making progress for Jeff’ – seemed to take precedence over security concerns that would have slowed down the schedule.”
On top of claims of security and sexism, employees said that, despite Bezos’ eco-friendly initiatives, Blue Origin hasn’t made any concrete plans about how it will become carbon neutral or significantly reduce its environmental footprint. Instead, the essay states that the company ordered the machinery without considering its environmental impact and built a headquarters that “is not a LEED-certified building and was built on wetlands drained for construction.”
“We did not see sustainability, climate change or climate justice affecting Blue Origin’s decision-making process or company culture,” the employees said.
A spokesperson for Blue Origin told Granthshala Business that Abrams was “sacked for cause” in 2019 after “repeated warnings for issues involving federal export control rules.” In addition, he emphasized that the company has “no tolerance for discrimination or harassment of any kind.”
“We provide a variety of avenues, including a 24/7 anonymous hotline for employees, and will promptly investigate any new claims of misconduct,” the spokesperson said. Safety and environmental concerns were not addressed in the statement.
The allegations come as Blue Origin prepares for its next suborbital spaceflight on October 12.