“It’s evidence of a vein of toxicity running through the company culture,” Bray wrote. “I choose neither to serve nor drink that poison.”
Bray cited the firings of warehouse workers including Chris Smalls and Bashir Mohammed, as well as tech employees Maren Costa and Emily Cunningham, who have criticized the company’s climate policies, among others. Bray said he raised his concerns through the proper channels but declined to disclose those conversations in his blog post.
“That done, remaining an Amazon VP would have meant, in effect, signing off on actions I despised. So I resigned,” Bray wrote.
Amazon declined to comment but said the other workers weren’t fired for whistleblowing but rather for violating company policies.
(Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
In an email to The Post, Bray said he wrote the blog post because he believes “strongly in telling the truth.” He blogs regularly and notes that others seem to find it interesting.
“No real objective aside from that of a storyteller, and no expectations for any particular result,” Bray wrote in his email.
Bray is a well-known name in the geeky developer world. He is one of the creators of XML, a coding language that’s a key underpinning of the Internet. Bray worked at Sun Microsystems and later for Google. He joined Amazon at the end of 2014, working in Amazon Web Services, the cloud-computing division that offers technology to let companies rent computing web-based infrastructure on-demand.
Amazon’s fired warehouse workers had pressed the company to treat employees better during the coronavirus pandemic. They sought paid time off for those who feel sick or need to self-quarantine, as well as temporary closure of warehouses for cleaning where workers test positive.
The two tech employees who were fired were outspoken critics of Amazon’s climate policies. They publicly denounced the conditions at Amazon’s warehouses and stood alongside warehouse colleagues who pressed for change.