AOC blasts Amazon PR strategy to smear fired worker as ‘racist’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lashed out at Amazon, calling the company’s reported plans to smear a warehouse worker who was fired after organizing a protest, “racist and classist.”

“Amazon’s attempt to smear Chris Smalls, one of their own warehouse workers, as ‘not smart or articulate’ is a racist & classist PR campaign,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Thursday night.

“If execs are as concerned abt (sic) worker health & safety as they claim, then they should provide the full paid sick leave ALL workers deserve.”

The freshman lawmaker was reacting to a Vice News report that detailed the company’s behind-the-scenes PR strategy for dealing with public backlash after axing Smalls, who had led a walkout at the Bloomfield facility on Staten Island this week to demand greater protection amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“He’s not smart, or articulate,” Amazon general counsel David Zapolsky said of Kelly in notes from an internal meeting of Amazon leadership obtained by the outlet.

Amazon said Smalls was canned for violating social distancing guidelines and a company-imposed 14-day quarantine after he came into contact with an employee who tested positive for the virus.

Part of the strategy, which was cooked up at a daily meeting attended by CEO Jeff Bezos and other top brass, was to lay into Smalls for allegedly violating company policy.

“We should spend the first part of our response strongly laying out the case for why the organizer’s conduct was immoral, unacceptable, and arguably illegal, in detail, and only then follow with our usual talking points about worker safety,” Zapolsky wrote.

In a statement to VICE News, Zapolsky said his “comments were personal and emotional.”

“I was frustrated and upset that an Amazon employee would endanger the health and safety of other Amazonians by repeatedly returning to the premises after having been warned to quarantine himself after exposure to virus Covid-19,” he said.

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