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Amazon Affinity Groups
A screen shot of the Diversity at Amazon web page where Affinity Groups and who and what they represent are listed. (Via Amazon.com)

Jeff Bezos has responded to what he called a “heartfelt email” from an employee representing Amazon’s Affinity Group Leaders who were seeking a message of support from the company’s leadership in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential victory.

Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos. (Kevin Lisota / GeekWire)

Anthony Little, a senior vendor manager at Amazon, emailed Bezos on Friday on behalf of the leaders of nine groups within the company whose focus is on providing insight and opportunity to diverse voices. Groups include Women@Amazon, Asians@Amazon, Black Employee Network, GLAmazon (for LGBQT issues and opportunities) and more.

Little said that “groups represented by our memberships were undeservingly pulled into the spotlight” during the divisive presidential campaign and many employees felt deeply affected by the outcome. His hope was that “a nonpartisan message expressing Amazon’s continued support of diversity and inclusion” would help to reassure employees.

Bezos replied on Sunday afternoon, saying that Amazon “has always been, and always will be, committed to equal rights, tolerance and diversity. And we firmly reject, and have zero tolerance for, harassment of any kind.”

The CEO said nothing will change the company’s enduring values of diversity and inclusion, and he welcomed Little to share his response with his colleagues. Both emails were shared with GeekWire on Monday.

Bezos himself congratulated Trump last Wednesday in a tweet in which he wished the president-elect “great success.”

Trump has previously made threats against Bezos and Amazon as a business, and Bezos once joked about reserving the billionaire businessman-turned-politician a seat on one of his Blue Origin rockets to space. In May, Bezos also said Trump’s accusations against Amazon were “not an appropriate way for a presidential candidate to behave.”

Here is the full email to Bezos on behalf of the Affinity Group Leaders:

Hello Jeff,

The US has just concluded two years of the most divisive presidential campaigning many of us can remember with an unexpected result.  The groups represented by our memberships were undeservingly pulled into the spotlight, and as such many of us feel deeply affected by the outcome.

As leaders, we understand the importance of our company’s commitment to bring diverse backgrounds and points of view to inventing on behalf of our customers. We believe diversity underscores everything we are and do, and when we look to our principles we are comforted to see diversity consistently represented in Invent & Simplify, Are Right A Lot, and Learn and Be Curious.

In order to reinforce our commitment to diverse perspectives, we believe a message from our leadership delivering a nonpartisan message expressing Amazon’s continued support of diversity and inclusion as well as reiterating that Amazon does not support workplace harassment of any kind, would provide much needed reassurance to employees during this uncertain time.

Your consideration is greatly appreciated.  Please let us know if you need any help or have any questions.

Best,

Amazon Affinity Group Leaders

AmazonPWD@
Asians@
AWE@
BEN@
glamazon@
Latinos@
Warriors@
WiFi@
Women@

Here is Bezos’ full reply to Anthony Little and the Affinity Group Leaders:

Dear Anthony and all of our affinity groups,

Thank you very much for your heartfelt email. As you note, the importance of diversity is represented in our Leadership Principles. Amazon has always been, and always will be, committed to equal rights, tolerance and diversity. And we firmly reject, and have zero tolerance for, harassment of any kind.

We’re a company of builders whose diverse backgrounds, ideas, and points of view are critical to helping us invent on behalf of all our customers. But it’s not only that diversity and inclusion are good for our business. It’s more fundamental than that — it’s simply right. These are enduring values for us—and nothing will change that.

Please feel free to share my note with your colleagues.

Thank you,

Jeff

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