Top Amazon lawyer David Zapolsky sent a memo to his staff on Wednesday saying “the images and accounts of violence, discrimination, and racist aggression against Black people are reprehensible and harrowing,” Recode reports.
Some employees were upset that the email did not address Zapolsky’s previously leaked statements regarding Chris Smalls, a Black warehouse worker who was fired in March, according to Recode.
On whether Zapolsky’s remarks on Smalls were related to race, an Amazon spokesperson said: “That’s not true. In fact, Mr. Zapolsky didn’t even know the race of the person at the time he made his comments.”
Top Amazon lawyer David Zapolsky sent a memo to his staff on Wednesday addressing the Black Lives Matter movement, and it reportedly upset some employees.
“The images and accounts of violence, discrimination, and racist aggression against Black people are reprehensible and harrowing,” said the memo, which was reported by Jason Del Ray at Recode. “Tragically, they are also not new.”
Recode reports that some Amazon employees were upset that Zapolsky’s memo did not address his leaked statements from April, in which he referred to fired Amazon warehouse employee Chris Smalls as “not smart, or articulate.”
Smalls, who is Black, said he was fired in March for leading a protest calling for better safety standards amid the pandemic. Amazon has said it fired Smalls for violating social distancing guidelines.
Zapolsky later apologized for the statements about Smalls, which Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez referred to as racist.
“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 in April.
In his apology, Zapolsky said, “My 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. I let my emotions draft my words and get the better of me.”