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MacKenzie Scott has done it again.
Having already donated $1.7 billion to charity by this past July — and announcing that she’s no longer using the last name of her ex-husband, Jeff Bezos — she declared that she has donated another $4.2 billion to 384 organizations in the last four months.
While all the tech bros fight over colonizing space and California tax codes, banding together for the only thing they really care about — fending off anti-trust legislators — Scott makes them all look like stingy, greedy incels without a shred of compassion for those ruined by COVID-19.
“This pandemic has been a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling,” Scott wrote in a Medium post on Dec. 15. “Economic losses and health outcomes alike have been worse for women, for people of color, and for people living in poverty. Meanwhile, it has substantially increased the wealth of billionaires.”
Billionaires who, with the exception of Bill Gates and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, have been relatively mum on this pandemic. Remember Elon Musk loudly inserting himself into the Thai cave rescue crisis, acting like a real-life Tony Stark? Why so quiet now?
And where’s Mark Zuckerberg? He’s signaled political ambitions. Know what helps with that? Acts of generosity, compassion and humanity.
That said, no one on the planet has profited more off this pandemic than Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (who not that long ago publicly humiliated Scott by carrying on an extramarital affair with his now-fiancée). Amazon has been the biggest beneficiary of the COVID-19 crisis so far and likely will be for some time to come, as brick-and-mortar retail crumbles and even older, tech-averse Americans turn to online shopping.
A recent USA Today report ranked Bezos No. 1 among 30 billionaires made even more disgustingly wealthy by a virus that has claimed 1.65 million lives worldwide. By April 2020, just one month in, more Americans were unemployed — 14.7 percent — than had ever been recorded, according to a congressional report.
Yet Bezos has remained awfully quiet on the economic devastation suffered by so many Americans. A survey conducted by The Washington Post (also owned by Bezos) in June reported that he, “the wealthiest man in the world with a fortune of $143 billion,” gave just $125 million to charity thus far in 2020.
To be clear, that’s just .08 percent of his wealth — the equivalent of rooting around in his sofa for loose change.
Meanwhile, Bezos purchased David Geffen’s Beverly Hills estate for $165 million in February. The previous summer, he bought several New York apartments for $80 million, and in April it was reported that he bought yet another New York apartment for $16 million. During this pandemic, Bezos’ wealth spiked by $13 billion in just a single day in July. Amazon shares traded at $1,700 pre-lockdown. Now they’re at more than $3,000.
All this while employees at Amazon fulfillment centers protested and begged for proper PPE and workplace safety conditions. Some, like New York City protester Christian Smalls, were fired. Amazon exec Tim Bray resigned in May, calling such firings “chickenshit” and writing in a blog post that “remaining an Amazon VP would have meant, in effect, signing off on actions I despised.”
As The Guardian noted, Bezos is now worth more than Exxon Mobil, McDonald’s or Nike.
Yet his ex-wife, who got $38 billion in the divorce, dwarfs him in charitable giving.
“She’s responding with urgency to the current moment,” Chuck Collins, director of the Charity Reform Initiative at the Institute for Policy Studies, told The New York Times. “You think of all these tech fortunes, they’re the great disrupters, but she’s disrupting the norms around billionaire philanthropy by moving quickly.”
In her Medium post, Scott wrote of average Americans giving what they could — not just financially, but of themselves — to help others in need.
“Our hopes are fed by others,” Scott wrote, encouraging those of us lucky enough to have jobs and homes and health to give what we can. “The hope you feed with your gift,” she concludes, “is likely to feed your own.”
With her giving, Scott hasn’t just proved her beautiful holiday spirit. She’s proved what Scrooges her billionaire brethren — and especially her ex-husband — truly are.
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