Get out and stay out!
That’s the message from a couple of irreverent Change.org petitions calling for Jeff Bezos to stay in space when he blasts off on Blue Origin’s first manned suborbital flight next month.
founder will be one of the first-ever passengers on his space-travel company’s New Shepard spacecraft on July 20, blasting off to the edge of space after stepping down as Amazon’s CEO.
“I want to go on this flight because it’s the thing I’ve wanted to do all my life,” Bezos said. “It’s an adventure. It’s a big deal for me.”
Bezos and his brother, Mark Bezos, will be among six passengers (including the anonymous winner of a charity auction, who bid $28 million to score a seat) who will fly briefly above the Kármán Line, aka the internationally recognized boundary of space more than 62 miles above Earth, before descending and re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere.
The trip is expected to last around 11 minutes — but many Bezos critics wish it would go much longer. Like, indefinitely.
Two petitions in particular have drawn tens of thousands of signatures. They include “Do not allow Jeff Bezos to return to Earth” (60,000 signers and counting) and “Petition To Not Allow Jeff Bezos Re-Entry To Earth” (20,000 signers and counting.)
“Billionaire’s [sic] should not exist…on earth, or in space, but should they decide the latter they should stay there,” reads the first.
The second compares Bezos to the fictional Superman arch nemesis Lex Luther, calling him, “an evil overlord hellbent on global domination.”
Amazon and Blue Origin were not immediately available for comment. Neither were reps for Change.org.
So why would so many people want to kick the world’s richest person off the planet for good? Well, Amazon has been accused of becoming a monopoly that is killing off mom-and-pop shops and brick and mortar stores.
It’s also been accused of mistreating workers by forcing them to work long hours below a living wage to fulfill all of those Amazon orders, as well as union busting. Indeed, Amazon workers in Germany began striking on Monday — the beginning of Amazon Prime Day — to demand a wage increase.
What’s more, Bezos and fellow tech billionaires like Microsoft
founder Bill Gates and Tesla
and SpaceX founder Elon Musk have come to epitomize the astronomical wealth gap. Bezos is currently the world’s wealthiest person, worth approximately $200 billion. And a recent ProPublica report that analyzed confidential Internal Revenue Service data found that ultrawealthy CEOs, including these three, have often legally sidestepped paying federal income tax in some years, or paid a “true tax rate” much lower than the average middle-class American taxpayer.
Meanwhile, Bezos’s ex wife Mackenzie Scott announced last week that she’s donated almost $9 billion since her divorce, including $2.7 billion to “historically overlooked groups.”
But all kidding aside, Bezos’s trip to space carries very real risks. Suborbital travel isn’t subject to the same rules as commercial flights. And traveling at three times the speed of sound to rise 62 miles above the Earth’s surface is a dangerous endeavor. Competitor Virgin Galactic
lost a test pilot during a 2014 accident. But to date, Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft has had 15 successful consecutive test flights.
Oh, and speaking of off-color requests for Bezos, another Change.org petition is calling for the billionaire to buy and eat Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, the Mona Lisa. The reason? “Nobody has eaten the mona lisa [sic] and we feel jeff bezos [sic] needs to take a stand and make this happen.” It’s drawn more than 11,500 signatures.
So what does the Mona Lisa’s Parisian home have to say about this? “We have seen the petition but the Musée du Louvre will not comment,” the museum’s deputy director of communication said in a statement.