A group of more than 20 current and former employees have raised complaints of a culture of sexism at Blue Origin; a space company founded by Amazon owner Jeff Bezos.
The employees have also raised concerns regarding the toxic working culture at the company and claim that it doesn’t adhere to proper safety protocols.
However, Blue Origin has rejected the charges, saying it has “no tolerance for any kind of harassment or discrimination” and that it stands by its safety record.
The allegations were outlined in a blog post that has signatures from 21 employees including Alexandra Abrams; the company’s former head of employee communications.
In the essay, employees stated that “numerous senior leaders have been known to be consistently inappropriate with women”.
They also claim that many company leaders were “unapproachable” and showed clear bias against women.
“Workforce gender gaps are common in the space industry; but at Blue Origin they also manifest in a particular brand of sexism,” the employees stated in the blog.
It also mentioned an incident where a senior executive reported sexual harassment “multiple times;” but it remained within the “loyal inner circle” of CEO Bob Smith.
The blog mentions a former executive employee who frequently referred to women as “‘baby girl,’ ‘baby doll,’ and ‘sweetheart.'”
The employees stated that Blue Origin company was more focused on beating billionaires Richard Branson and Elon Musk in the space race rather than addressing the safety issues; that would have slowed down the schedule.
On July 21, Bezos blasted off to space in a spaceflight developed by his company Blue Origin.
However, he was defeated by Bezos in the race by nine days by Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson; who pushed ahead and travelled to space in his own flight from New Mexico.
“Some of us felt that with the resources and staff available; leadership’s race to launch at such a breakneck speed was seriously compromising flight safety,” the employees said.