Amazon boss and space pioneer Jeff Bezos has reportedly been assaulted in a bar brawl in downtown Seattle, Washington last night. The assault took place while Bezos was celebrating with a group of senior staff members, along with presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May and Executive Producer Andy Wilman.
Bezos and the group allegedly entered the upmarket Purple Cafe and Wine Bar establishment at approximately 7pm, and set themselves up at a private bar they’d booked out for the evening. It is said that they were celebrating the signing of the final edits for their new Amazon motoring show, with all involved drinking heavily into the night.
At around 11:30pm, patrons heard raised voices and shouting, before a scuffle broke out between Bezos and Clarkson.
A bartender from the Purple Cafe, speaking on the condition of anonymity, suggested the argument was about money. “The bald guy [Bezos] kept saying there wasn’t enough money left in the budget to pay the taller gentleman the amount they’d previously agreed on. The whole room fell silent. It was intense,” the bartender said.
“It went back and forth a few times, with the tall guy threatening to ‘bone’ the bald guy’s dog, before grabbing him by the collar and smashing him right in the face,” he said. “I think everyone was kind of in shock at what happened, as they all just stood there for a bit before stepping in and pulling them both apart.”
Witnesses said Hammond and May pulled the visibly angry Clarkson aside and attempted to calm him down, while a very bruised looking Bezos was escorted from the premises before leaving in a private car. The remaining Amazon staff members left the premises soon after, while Clarkson, Hammond and May left roughly 30 minutes later via the rear entrance.
Sadly, it isn’t the first time Clarkson has punched a colleague over a seemingly trivial issue – just over a year ago he was fired from the BBC after punching executive producer Oisin Tymon in the face after an argument over a steak. This time though, the dispute seems to be over something far more important – money.
Clarkson’s antics might have just made things a lot worse though, with Bezos announcing this morning that the company was re-evaluating the viability of their new £160,000,000 motoring show, due to a shortfall in revenue and a plunging share price. “Our Amazon Prime streaming service hasn’t brought in anywhere near the level of revenue we expected,” Bezos said. “The growth that our investors were looking for… clearly we haven’t been able to live up to the hype. It’s a black eye against our name.”
Bezos ‘black eye’ reference was made all the more poignant due to the fact that he was sporting one himself, almost like a ‘badge of honour’. When quizzed by reporters for an explanation about his appearance, Bezos declined to elaborate, referring to it as a “personal matter”.
We’ll keep you up to date as we learn the full story behind what has happened, but we can only hope that it was all a misunderstanding and Amazon reconsiders their position. At this stage all the hard work – the script writing, the filming, the editing – has already been completed and the new show is ready to go. It would be a shame for all that time, money and effort to go to waste.
For now, we can only cross our fingers and hope.