Bezos, Amazon execs defend workplace culture after New York Times article

Jeff Bezos: "I strongly believe that anyone working in a company that really is like the one described in the NYT would be crazy to stay. I know I would leave such a company."

Image via CBS This Morning's YouTube page.
Image via CBS This Morning's YouTube page.

SEATTLE: Amazon executives, including its CEO and global corporate affairs leader have been speaking out via traditional and social media in defense of the company after The New York Times published a critical report about its culture.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos sent staffers an email this weekend defending the company’s workplace environment in response to the Times’ investigation, which includes anecdotes from current and former employees.

The memo, posted in full on Geekwire, encourages employees to read the more-than-5,400-word piece.

"The article doesn’t describe the Amazon I know or the caring Amazonians I work with every day," wrote Bezos. "But if you know of any stories like those reported, I want you to escalate to HR. You can also email me directly at jeff@amazon.com. Even if it’s rare or isolated, our tolerance for any such lack of empathy needs to be zero."

He added: "I strongly believe that anyone working in a company that really is like the one described in the NYT would be crazy to stay. I know I would leave such a company."

Jay Carney, the former White House press secretary and current SVP and head of global corporate affairs at Amazon, went on CBS This Morning on Monday to rebut the article.

"This is an incredibly compelling place to work," Carney said on CBS’ morning program. "I think the fundamental flaw in the story is the suggestion that any company that had the culture that The New York Times wrote about, sort of a cruel, Darwinian or Dickensian kind of atmosphere in the workplace, could survive and thrive in today’s marketplace."

"Amazon wouldn’t be the success it is if it were the company that The New York Times wrote about," he added.

Amazon head of infrastructure development Nick Ciubotariu also defended the company in a LinkedIn post. He wrote that Amazon may have been a difficult place to work in the past, but it isn’t like that anymore.

He added two update sections to the top of the piece. The first thanked readers for their notes and asked them to share the blog with others.

"I tried to post it in the comments section of The New York Times article. I’m sad, but not surprised, to say it was moderated out. Thankfully, in today’s day and age, there are other avenues for rebuttal and setting the record straight," he wrote in the update.

In the second update, Ciubotariu stated that no one asked him to write the article or edited it, aside from his wife.

PR pros on Twitter said communications staffers at Amazon have their work cut out for them rebutting the story.

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