Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is going to space next month, and more than 60,000 people have signed petitions politely requesting he stay there.
The 57-year-old Bezos and his brother Mark will be passengers on the first human spaceflight conducted by Blue Origin, the aerospace company he founded more than two decades ago.
“Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space,” Bezos wrote in an Instagram post last month. “On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother.”
But one of the wealthiest people in history is decidedly unpopular on his home planet, as a pair of petitions on Change.org have so far racked up tens of thousands of signatures. As of Monday, more than 42,000 people have signed one called “Do not allow Jeff Bezos to return to Earth.”
“Billionaire's [sic] should not exist...on earth, or in space, but should they decide the latter they should stay there,” the petition says. One signer added: “If we all collectively use our energy to yeet him upwards I think we could thrust him with enough force for him to break through the atmosphere.”
Another petition, “Petition to Not Allow Jeff Bezos Re-Entry to Earth,” which makes references to Bezos’ connections to Jeffrey Epstein as well as a number of baseless conspiracy theories including “flat earth deniers” and 5G microchips, has garnered more than 20,000 signatures as of Monday.
Bezos, who is worth nearly $200 billion, announced earlier this year that in the third quarter of 2021 he would be stepping down as chief executive officer of the company he founded, and become the executive chairman of the company’s board.
“As Exec Chair I will stay engaged in important Amazon initiatives but also have the time and energy I need to focus on the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, The Washington Post, and my other passions,” Bezos said in a letter to employees in February.
Bezos has recently been the subject of a number of Change.org petitions, which are non-binding but nonetheless can serve as some strong suggestions. Last week, a petition called “We want Jeff Bezos to buy and eat the Mona Lisa” got more than 10,000 signatures. “Nobody has eaten the mona lisa and we feel jeff bezos needs to take a stand and make this happen,” the petitioner said.
As of Monday, the top comment remains “gobble da lisa.”