Petition urges Jeff Bezos to blast into space – and stay there

A growing group of earthlings is banding together in an effort to keep Jeff Bezos off the planet, after he leaves it in late July.

By Monday morning, more than 77,000 had signed a petition on Change.org demanding the Amazon founder be kept from returning to Earth after participating in the first human space flight launched by his company Blue Origin.

“Billionaire’s [sic] should not exist … on earth, or in space, but should they decide the latter they should stay there,” read the description accompanying the petition, which was addressed “to the proletariat”.

In May, Bezos was named the second-richest person in the world, with a net worth of $186bn.

Earlier this month, he announced that he and his brother Mark would be on the first human flight of the New Shepard, a spacecraft built by his company Blue Origin. The flight on 20 July will last 11 minutes and will send six passengers 62 miles above the Earth.

Mark Bezos is co-founder of the private equity firm HighPost Capital, according to LinkedIn, and a director for the Bezos Family Foundation. He is also a volunteer firefighter in Westchester county, New York.

Jeff Bezos has long been criticized for being stingy with his wealth. In January, the political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson wrote that while Donald Trump had given away more than 3% of his wealth, Bezos had given away less than 1%. Bezos’s ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott, has given away billions.

Bezos has also been condemned over stagnant wages and for discouraging Amazon workers from unionizing.

Blue Origin sold its first seat on its first human space flight on 12 June, for $28m and after more than 7,500 people registered to bid. The name of the winner will soon be released, along with the name of the final crew member.

The journey will come 15 days after Bezos steps down as Amazon chief executive and transitions to chair of the executive board. Andy Jassy, Amazon’s web services chief, will take over.

In a February memo to employees, Bezos said the change will give him the “time and energy I need to focus on the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, the Washington Post and my other passions”.

Bezos purchased the Post for $250m in 2013.

In a recent Instagram video, the 57-year-old said he had dreamed of traveling into space since he was five.

“If you see the Earth from space, it changes you,” Bezos said. “It changes your relationship with this planet, with humanity. It’s one Earth. It’s an adventure.”

The Guardian

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