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William Shatner’s inspiring space flight eclipses Blue Origin’s culture briefing


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

It was a brilliant marketing stunt on Jeff Bezos’ part to have Captain Kirk himself on board for yesterday’s second and very successful Blue Origin space flight. The media has been riveted by the 90-year-old former Star Trek Commander, who is in incredible shape, speaking of the enormity of abandoning the fine blue atmosphere for the deadly blackness 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 founder of Amazon – who gave everyone a champagne shower – and his rocket company.

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

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But there is another Blue Origin story this week, one that hardly received any television coverage.

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

It is a corporate culture that has “become dysfunctional, resulting in low morale and high turnover, significant delays in several major programs.”

This is an “authoritarian bro culture,” as one ex-employee put it, leading to “condescending, sometimes demeaning, and harassment of some women” comments.

And the most remarkable sentence in history:

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

Yes, this fiercely negative investigative report was published by Jeff Bezos’ own journal.

It says a lot about The Post’s approach to journalism that it’s ready to take on the boss in such a dramatic way. And I have to admit, that says a lot about Bezos’ hands-off approach to the paper he bought from the Graham family eight years ago that there was no interference.

The indictment, based on over 20 interviews, is pretty hot. One insider reportedly said, “The C-sequel is pretty disconnected from the grassroots. It’s very dysfunctional. It’s condescending. It’s demoralizing, and what happens is we can’t move forward and find ourselves. with huge delays. “

Dan Abrams, on his NewsNation, offered theories as to why journalists are so easy on one of the richest men in the world:

“He’s one of them – we own beloved media property, he’s progressive and – this one is a bit of a conspirator – but he’s super wealthy and can personally drive massive ad buys.”

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Blue Origin said in a statement that the company takes “all complaints seriously and we have no tolerance for discrimination or harassment of any kind. Appropriate action – up to and including termination of ‘use. “

Interestingly enough Bezos wouldn’t comment on his own post. Maybe he was too busy hanging out with Shatner.

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

Meanwhile, I’m a little stunned that a few Tory commentators are defending Jon Gruden, who stepped down as coach of the Las Vegas Raiders after the New York Times leaked some of his horribly offensive emails.

After all, this top NFL executive and former ESPN analyst once called Commissioner Roger Goodell an “f —- t” and “ignorant anti-football p — y,” and said Goodell shouldn’t have pressured Jeff Fisher. , then the Rams coach, to write “q — rs.” And he exchanged photos 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 slurs were common, not all adults have they had to learn unacceptable?

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As Post sports reporter Sally Jenkins puts it, “There is a feeling that Gruden was not just speaking for himself in these emails, but that he is a representative man of the NFL in his light-hearted fanaticism, that he really is the football establishment in his talk about “queers” and black men with fat lips .. And that will be a challenge for anyone in and around the league who would like to part ways. “

But here’s the thing: Gruden, who apologized, sent these missives to the former president of the Washington football team, among others. A lot of people in the league must have known about them, but no one denounced him. This is why the National Football League has a very big problem.