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.
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.”
“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.
“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!”
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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