Washington Post Employees Blast Jeff Bezos for Spending $5M on Super Bowl Ad

Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos provides the keynote address at the Air Force Association's Annual Air, Space & Cyber Conference in Oxen Hill, MD, on September 19, 2018. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Several Washington Post employees slammed billionaire Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon and owner of the 142-year-old newspaper, for dropping five million dollars on a Super Bowl commercial instead of providing additional benefits.

The Post debuted its first Super Bowl commercial Sunday evening, highlighting the often-dangerous work journalists undertake.

The ad, narrated by Hollywood star Tom Hanks, features journalists who have been killed or disappeared, including Jamal Khashoggi, a Post columnist who wrote critically about the Saudi crown prince. Also featured were Austin Tice, a freelance reporter missing in Syria for six years, and Marie Colvin, a Sunday Times correspondent who was killed in Syria.

Abigail Hauslohner, a national reporter for the Post, criticized Bezos in a comment on his own social media post promoting the ad — faulting him for not providing paid parental leave as she cares for her infant daughter.

“I am proud to report for @washingtonpost. I’ve been shot at while on the job, &I’ve run frm airstrikes. I’ve been threatened w arrest. Ive lost brilliant colleagues who were far less lucky. But we report bc it matters; bc an informed public makes informed decisions,” Hauslohner’s tweet thread began. “I wish however, that I didn’t have to give up my vacation & sick days & go wks w/out a salary in order to take leave w my infant daughter as I’m doing right now.

The reporter, tagging Bezos in her subsequent tweet, said female journalists are as valuable as their male counterparts. “But we need your support,” she continued. “We need paid parental leave.”

Hauslohner then called on the paper to provide equal pay, arguing it could afford to because”journalism matters” and  “it’s the right thing to do.”

” Journalists need to be able to do their best work. They shouldn’t have to choose btw work & family. @JeffBezos,” she concluded.

The Post’s Sarah Kaplan encouraged her Twitter followers to read Hauslohner’s thread and said: “If @JeffBezos truly values ground-breaking, truth-seeking, risk-taking journalism, he ought to value journalists like @ahauslohner, who have given this work their all and are still being asked to sacrifice more.”

Dan Zak, a general assignment feature writer for Post, also replied to Bezos’ tweet, calling on him to pay equal wages, along with more maternity leave benefits and a boost in pensions.

The billionaire did not respond to the reporters’ tweets.

As Breitbart News’ John Nolte noted in an opinion-editorial Monday, the timing of the ad appeared rather tone-deaf, because hundreds of journalists have lost their jobs in recent days.

Last week, Vice Media announced it was cutting 250 jobs globally as it seeks to achieve profitability.

The cuts affect about 10 percent of Vice’s 2,500 staff, said company spokeswoman Danielle Carrig. The media industry has been facing a wave of layoffs as Facebook and Google gobble up the bulk of digital advertising dollars.

Further, newspaper publisher McClatchy said it will offer voluntary buyouts to 13 percent of its staff, roughly 450 people.

Last month, BuzzFeed said it is cutting 200 employees in an effort to reach profitability, while Verizon is cutting nearly 800 jobs in its media division, which includes Yahoo News and HuffPost.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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