As blue origin is preparing for their next launch on October 12, other news surrounding the company’s conduct is making headlines.
Alexandra Abrams, a former employee at blue origin, made an exclusive interview with CBS today where she outlined the company’s ‘toxic’ environment that was documented in an essay. The essay was written by her and 20 other former and current employees claiming there was unaddressed safety concerns, a culture of sexual harassment, and policies that limited workers from reporting Misconduct.
“You cannot create a culture of safety and a culture of fear at the same time. They are incompatible,” said Abrams. “Oftentimes when I would try to reconcile what I was hearing from the engineers who were close to the vehicle versus leadership about risk and safety, I would often go to leadership and say, ‘Okay, how am I supposed to think about this?’ And often the response would be, ‘Oh, well that person in particular just doesn’t have a high enough risk tolerance.'”
The essay was sent to the FAA before being released online. As of now, the FAA has not released a statement.
A specific issue that was brought up in the essay was that in 2018 one team reported 1000 Problem reports concerning the engine. These reports were not address. Abrams was asked whether she trusted the blue origins rocket safely going into space:
“Unfortunately, Laurie, I would not trust a Blue Origin vehicle going to space.”
Abrams claimed that she was fired after refusing to help the company make stricter policies that would prevent workers from bringing disputes in court and speak about harassment.
In an interview with CBS’s Laurie Segall, Abrams alleged that the leadership of blue origin, including Jeff Bezos, were more worried about getting projects done than going over safety.
One of the co-authors also spoke to CBS but I wanted to remain anonymous to not be blacklisted by the industry. They claimed that the pressure of keeping pace with other private space companies was getting to Bezos.
“It was great that Blue Origin was smooth, and steady, and slow until Jeff started becoming impatient and Elon and Branson were getting ahead,” Abrams said. “And then we started to feel this increasing pressure and impatience that would definitely filter down from leadership.”
Sexism was also brought up in the essay. Abram said that women were treated differently than their male counterparts and that they were not listen to.
When CBS reached out to blue origin for a comment, they did not address the safety allegations, but they said that the company has no tolerance for discrimination and that they would investigate new claims of sexual harassment. They also claimed that Abrams was fired after getting several warnings about federal export control regulations. Though, Abram said that she did not get any warnings.