William Shatner’s inspirational space travel overshadows Blue Origin’s culture exposé

It was undeniably exciting to watch William Shatner shoot into space.

It was brilliant marketing from Jeff Bezos to have Captain Kirk himself on board for yesterday’s second and very successful Blue Origin space flight. The media was mesmerized by the 90-year-old former Star Trek commander who is in amazing shape and talked about the enormity of exiting the thin blue atmosphere into the deadly darkness of space. When he put his hands on Bezos’ shoulders, hugged him and thanked him for “the most profound experience I can imagine,” it was a triumph for the Amazon founder – who bought everyone a champagne shower – and his rocket company.

And the outfit, with its astronaut debriefing in the West Texas desert, tells and produces it in a way that Richard Branson, who blasted Bezos into space, didn’t.

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But there’s another Blue Origin story this week – one that basically got no television coverage.

It is about an official who has resigned and wrote a long memo to Bezos: “Our current culture is toxic to our success.”

It is about a corporate culture that has “become dysfunctional, leading to low morale and high turnover, significant delays in several large programs.”

It is about an “authoritarian brotherhood culture”, as one former employee put it, which leads to “condescending, sometimes humiliating comments and harassment towards some women”.

And the most notable sentence in history:

“Bezos, who recently stepped down as CEO of Amazon, also owns the Washington Post.”

Yes, this heavily negative research report was published by Jeff Bezos’ own newspaper.

It speaks volumes about the Post’s journalistic approach that it is ready to take on the boss in such a dramatic way. And I have to admit, it says something about Bezos’ careless approach to the paper he bought from the Graham family eight years ago, that there was no interference.

The charge, based on more than 20 interviews, is pretty sharp. A source is quoted as saying, “The C-suite has pretty much no contact with the grassroots. It’s very dysfunctional. It’s condescending. It’s demoralizing, and what happens is that we don’t make any progress and end up with great Delays. “

Dan Abrams offered theories on his NewsNation show as to why journalists treat one of the richest men in the world so lightly:

“He’s one of them – we have a beloved media property, he’s progressive, and – this one is a little conspiratorial – but he’s super rich and can personally drive massive ad purchases.”

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Blue Origin said in a statement that the company “takes all claims seriously and we have no tolerance for discrimination or harassment of any kind. When we make allegations of misconduct under our Harassment, Anti-Discrimination and Retaliation Policy, we take the appropriate action – including termination of employment. “

Interestingly, Bezos did not want to comment on his own newspaper. Maybe he was too busy hanging out with Shatner.

This undated photo, made available to Blue Origin in October 2021, shows Chris Boshuizen, William Shatner, Audrey Powers and Glen de Vries from left. (Blue origin above AP)
(Blue origin above AP)

In the meantime, I’m a little stunned that a few conservative commentators are defending Jon Gruden, who stepped down as coach of the Las Vegas Raiders after the New York Times published some of his terribly offensive emails.

After all, this senior NFL executive and former ESPN analyst commissioner Roger Goodell once called an “f —- t” and an “unsuspecting anti-football —- y” and said Goodell shouldn’t have pressured Jeff Fisher , then the Rams’ trainer to design “q — rs”. And he exchanged pictures of topless cheerleaders.

For those who say, oh these are old emails, Gruden wrote them between the ages of 47 and 54, some as recently as 2017. As for the argument that some of these insults used to be common, not all adults had to learn they unacceptable?

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Post sports journalist Sally Jenkins says: “It gives the impression that Gruden not only spoke for himself in these emails, but that he is a representative NFL man in his carefree bigotry, that he is in his speech of ‘queers’ is very much the football establishment. and fat-lipped black men .. And it will be a challenge for anyone in and around the league who wants to break up. “

But that’s how it is: Gruden, who apologized, sent these letters to the former president of the Washington Football Team, among others. A lot of people in the league must have known about it, but no one reported it. That is why the National Football League has a very big problem.

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