KEY POINTS

  • Jeff Bezos is being ridiculed for Amazon's $690,000 donation to save Australian wildlife from the ongoing bushfires
  • Bezos' wealth grew by $690,000 every five minutes in 2018
  • It hasn't been reported that Bezos has made any personal donation for humanitarian or animal relief

Jeff Bezos is being slammed on social media after announcing that Amazon will be donating a "mere" US$690,000 (A$1 million) to wildfire recovery in the wake of Australia’s raging and catastrophic bushfires that have killed more than one billion animals since July. Bezos himself hasn't personally donated anything to fight the wildfire or protect animals.

Bezos announced this donation in a touching Instagram post. Amazon later said it will distribute the money to relief agencies helping victims and restoring wildlife.

The world's richest person (worth more than US$116 billion) was, however, skewered and ridiculed on Twitter and social media for this miniscule amount, which is a sum he makes in a mere five minutes in his job as Amazon CEO. It's been calculated that Bezos' wealth grew by $690,000 every five minutes in 2018. Others estimate the donation is the equivalent of someone worth $50,000 donating only 29 cents.

Amazon's donation also reignited worldwide criticism of Bezos' vast personal wealth, which anti-poverty advocates call "obscene." Bezos himself confirmed his stature as the world's stingiest billionaire with data showing he donated only $200 million to philanthropic and other humanitarian causes from 2000 to 2017.

Australians also have an axe to grind with Bezos and Amazon, which has a market cap of US$933.6 billion. Amazon wantonly exploited various exemptions and loopholes in Australia’s tax code to pay only US$13.8 million (A$20 million) in taxes in Australia despite earning more than $687 million (A$1 billion) in revenue. In the U.S., Amazon paid $0 in corporate income tax using the same tactics.

The condemnation of Bezos is universal. Amazon’s donation is “insulting,” said Canadian-American print magazine, Vice.

"If you made $200,000 EVERY DAY since the birth of Jesus Christ to today, you would still have less money than Jeff Bezos," said one tweet.

The Huffington Post tweeted, "Critics felt that the Amazon CEO, whose net worth is estimated to be over $110 billion, could have contributed more."

"Why can’t Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates just donate $1 billion to Australia?? We got people out here tossing Koalas in their CRV’s," wrote another.

Someone tweeted: "Jeff Bezos is worth $117 BILLION so tell me why one of the richest men on the planet didn’t donate anything to the fires in Australia. The company Amazon donated $690,000 NOT Bezos which is absurd."

Wildfires have ravaged large tracts of Australia since late July. They've killed at least 28 people, destroyed more than 2,000 homes and burned some 15.6 million acres of land.

Burning embers cover the ground as firefighters battle against bushfires around the town of Nowra in the Australian state of New South Wales on December 31, 2019 Burning embers cover the ground as firefighters battle against bushfires around the town of Nowra in the Australian state of New South Wales on December 31, 2019 Photo: AFP / Saeed KHAN