Listen, everyone should watch Squid Game, the poignant new South Korean Netflix show currently exploding in popularity. But if anyone has important lessons to learn from its dystopian story about the cruel rat race of late-stage capitalism, it is Jeffrey Bezos, founder and former CEO of Amazon
On Sunday, Bezos tweeted praise at Netflix for an international strategy that helped the Korean show take off globally, calling this business success “impressive and inspiring.” However, a parenthetical made clear that the richest man in the world might not realize that Squid Game is actually not very favorable in its depiction of the Jeff Bezoses of our world.
“I can’t wait to watch the show,” Bezos wrote. And honestly, Jeff, we too would love to know your thoughts once you actually watch this Parasite-meets-Hunger Games critique of the class inequality created by the very exploitative, predatory capitalist systems you gamed at the expense of your workers’ basic human rights and decency.
In case anyone needs a refresher: Bezos owes a significant portion of his startling net worth to the employees that have reportedly had to resort to pissing in bottles and shitting in bags to keep up with the grueling demands of their employer and workplace.
The company also stands accused of repeatedly failing to protect workers throughout the deadly pandemic, with lack of proper safety protocols, hellish working conditions, and a lack of transparency around pandemic protocols that contributed to over 20,000 employees contracting COVID-19 (along with an unknown number of deaths). While Amazon denied workers paid sick leave during the pandemic, Bezos made more money than ever.
As the company actively gambled workers’ lives, it even ran disturbingly cheery ads thanking them as “essential.” Amazon doesn’t seem willing to spend much money on protecting workers, but it’s apparently willing to drop a lot on a PR strategy to counteract all the negative press around reports of abusive working conditions.
If you’ve seen even just the first episode of Squid Game, you’ll know exactly how ironic it is for Bezos to miss the point of this disturbing show entirely while marveling at its profitability for Netflix. The show’s message is far from subtle, and it’s not hard to see why so many global viewers can relate to its metaphor for how the one percent trap the everyone else in a cruel capitalist game that they cannot ever truly “win” (at least not without losing all remains shreds of humanity).
Twitter users did their best to warn Bezos of what he was in for.
Another made it clear what role Bezos would play in the fictional world and, well, it isn’t the hero.
Others suggested he jot down what lessons he takes from it.
Many took the tweet as an opportunity to point out that we collectively hate it here.
So let’s circle back with Jeff — either after he actually watches Squid Game, or after the people start bringing out the guillotines for uber rich. For his sake, we hope they get Netflix in space!