If Your Ex Is Jeff Bezos, the Best Revenge Is Being a Better Person Than He Is

Illustration for article titled If Your Ex Is Jeff Bezos, the Best Revenge Is Being a Better Person Than He Is
Photo: Jerod Harris (Getty Images)

Flexing on an ex-husband can involve any number of things: marrying someone richer, younger, better-looking; getting a so-called “revenge body.” For my mother it involved redecorating the bathroom to reflect her desired aesthetic: beach theme. But if your ex-husband happens to be Jeff Bezos—a soulless ghoul and the richest person in the world—the best flex is to simply try to be a kinder, more moral person than he is.

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According to the New York Times, MacKenzie Scott, who divorced Bezos in 2019, intends to do exactly that. On Monday, The Giving Pledge, a philanthropy organization for the ultra-rich, published a letter from Dan Jewett, a Seattle-based private school teacher who announced that he had married Scott and that together they planned to give away the majority of their wealth.

“It is strange to be writing a letter indicating I plan to give away the majority of my wealth during my lifetime, as I have never sought to gather the kind of wealth required to feel like saying such a thing would have particular meaning,” Jewett wrote. “And now, in a stroke of happy coincidence, I am married to one of the most generous and kind people I know—and joining her in a commitment to pass on an enormous financial wealth to serve others.”

Scott, who is worth an estimated $53 billion, signed The Giving Pledge in May 2019, making the same commitment as Jewett; since her divorce from Bezos, she’s given away roughly $1.7 billion of her wealth. “There’s no question in my mind that anyone’s personal wealth is the product of a collective effort, and of social structures which present opportunities to some people, and obstacles to countless others,” Scott wrote in a Medium post last year.

Though Bezos has donated large sums of money to charity as well, he’s been criticized for not joining The Giving Pledge, making him the only American among the five richest people in the world not to sign on to the agreement. He’s also taken a somewhat sketchy approach to philanthropy, most notably in 2017, when he tweeted a “request for ideas” for how to give his money away. And though the Bezos Family Foundation is a thing that exists, it’s neither run by Bezos nor has it received any contributions from him. All of these criticisms are merely secondary to those regarding the horrific exploitation workers at his Amazon warehouses endure.

Of course, in a functioning society, philanthropy wouldn’t be necessary. Both Bezos and Scott would be taxed appropriately, and their wealth would be redistributed: People’s ability to live with dignity would neither be predicated on the replies to a billionaire’s tweet soliciting “ideas” about whom to donate to, nor would it rely on someone’s willingness to sign a silly little pledge. Nonetheless, I commend Scott on doing what nearly anyone could do in her position: proving that her ex is a POS.

Night blogger at Jezebel with writing at The Baffler, The Nation, The New Republic, Vice, and more.

DISCUSSION

weeptalker
chocolate covered raisons d'être

Thought I read not too long ago that Bezos could give every Amazon employee something like $100k and still have like ninetyish billion left. Are the ideas reeeeally that hard to come by, Jeff?