Home Business Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ space company, accused of having a “toxic” and dangerous culture

Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ space company, accused of having a “toxic” and dangerous culture

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Employees of Blue Origin, the space company of billionaire Jeff Bezos, publicly denounced Thursday September 30 a work environment ” toxic “where they say sexism and dangerous practices for flight safety reign, calling for more control by a third authority.

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In a text published online, the former head of internal communications, Alexandra Abrams, as well as 20 other current and former employees who wish to remain anonymous, also regretted that Blue Origin (3,600 employees) disregarded environmental issues in its development.

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The culture of Blue Origin “ignores the state of our planet, ignores sexism, fails to listen sufficiently to security challenges, and silences those who seek to correct these problems”they lament.

“We should not wait for the loss of human life to look into what is happening behind the doors of private space companies”they add. “The time has come – now that the public is coming on board – to allow independent oversight. »

Accusations taken “seriously”

After transporting its first four passengers, including Jeff Bezos, to space in July, a second manned flight is planned by Blue Origin on October 12.

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The United States Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Thursday “take all safety allegations seriously” and be on the way to “analyze information”. But the agency limits itself, for private space flights, to ensuring that a collision does not occur with an airliner or that debris does not fall to the ground, recalls the text.

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Many signatory employees do not “Wouldn’t board a Blue Origin ship”says this forum, denouncing a lack of personnel, resources and extreme pressure to reduce costs and deadlines.

“The competition with other billionaires […] took precedence over security concerns that would have slowed the schedule”wrote the former employees, citing in particular the Briton Richard Branson, founder of the rival company Virgin Galactic.

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Blue Origin managers are encouraged to “pushing employees to their limits”which is why some of them had “suicidal thoughts”supports the text.

In 2019, staff had to sign contracts pledging them not to publicly disparage the company, he adds.

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The signatories of the forum also list numerous inappropriate behaviors towards women – including a person who has been reported several times for sexual harassment to human resources and who has nevertheless been promoted within the recruitment team.

“Blue Origin has no tolerance for discrimination or harassment”responded the company in a statement sent to AFP, committing to “promptly investigate any new allegations of misconduct”.

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