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Jeff Bezos thinks trying to get revenge on Gawker is a waste of time

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Speaking today at the Code Conference, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos spoke out against Peter Thiel's crusade against Gawker Media. Bezos, who was perhaps speaking more as the owner of The Washington Post than as the CEO of Amazon, shied away from discussing the specifics of the Hulk Hogan sex tape trial that Thiel has been funding. Nevertheless, he doesn't approve of the tactic. "Do you really want to spend your time trying to right some, even if it's legitimate, wrong?" he asked. The answer, for him, is clearly no.

Bezos quoted Confucius (or at least the apocryphal version of him), saying, "Seek revenge, and you shall dig two graves, one for yourself." His criticism wasn't much more pointed than that, however. He painted it mainly as simply a bad idea for a billionaire to waste their time on — that as public figures they ought to just learn to deal with media criticism: "The best defense to speech that you don't like about yourself as a public figure is to develop a thick skin." Sitting in the room, you got the sense that Bezos felt the whole thing was just kind of petty. "If you absolutely can't tolerate critics," he said, "then don't do anything new or interesting."

Again, Bezos demurred from getting into the specifics, but he ended his answer to Walt Mossberg's question with a common defense the media, "Beautiful speech doesn't need protection," he said. "It's ugly speech that needs protection."


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