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Jeff Bezos Responds to New York Times Story: 'I Don’t Recognize This Amazon.'

Memo to staff: "Anyone working in a company that really is like the one described in the NYT would be crazy to stay."

Win McNamee / Getty Images

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos doesn’t say much in public, and he wasn’t quoted in the damning report the New York Times published about his company this weekend. But now he has responded to the Times, which said he runs Amazon as a “bruising workplace.”

In an memo to Amazon employees, Bezos acknowledges that the Times cites “anecdotes” of “shockingly callous management practices.” But while he doesn’t argue with any specifics in the Times report, he says that its overall portrait of Amazon “doesn’t describe the Amazon I know or the caring Amazonians I work with every day.”

The Times “claims that our intentional approach is to create a soulless, dystopian workplace where no fun is had and no laughter heard,” Bezos writes. “Again, I don’t recognize this Amazon and I very much hope you don’t, either … I strongly believe that anyone working in a company that really is like the one described in the NYT would be crazy to stay. I know I would leave such a company.”

Here’s the full memo:

Dear Amazonians,

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to give this (very long) New York Times article a careful read:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/16/technology/inside-amazon-wrestling-big-ideas-in-a-bruising-workplace.html

I also encourage you to read this very different take by a current Amazonian:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/amazonians-response-inside-amazon-wrestling-big-ideas-nick-ciubotariu

Here’s why I’m writing you. The NYT article prominently features anecdotes describing shockingly callous management practices, including people being treated without empathy while enduring family tragedies and serious health problems. The article doesn’t describe the Amazon I know or the caring Amazonians I work with every day. But if you know of any stories like those reported, I want you to escalate to HR. You can also email me directly at jeff@amazon.com. Even if it’s rare or isolated, our tolerance for any such lack of empathy needs to be zero.

The article goes further than reporting isolated anecdotes. It claims that our intentional approach is to create a soulless, dystopian workplace where no fun is had and no laughter heard. Again, I don’t recognize this Amazon and I very much hope you don’t, either. More broadly, I don’t think any company adopting the approach portrayed could survive, much less thrive, in today’s highly competitive tech hiring market. The people we hire here are the best of the best. You are recruited every day by other world-class companies, and you can work anywhere you want.

I strongly believe that anyone working in a company that really is like the one described in the NYT would be crazy to stay. I know I would leave such a company.

But hopefully, you don’t recognize the company described. Hopefully, you’re having fun working with a bunch of brilliant teammates, helping invent the future, and laughing along the way.

Thank you,

Jeff

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.