Mom asks Amazon CEO to apologize for daughter's bullying: 'I ask, make an apology and start a movement'
A Massachusetts mother wrote a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos demanding an apology for the bullying her daughter has received for sharing the same name as the retail giant's virtual assistant device Alexa, according to WNBC.
Identified only as "Lauren," the woman, who hails from Lynn, reached out to Bezos after reportedly seeing her 6-year-old girl bullied by her peers.
"Mr. Bezos, I write to you as a father and human being rather than the CEO of Amazon," she began her letter. "We are not asking for wealth or recognition from this request. We just want to correct an error we believe was a giant mistake."
The mother went on to describe how other children have treated her daughter as if the 6-year-old is the virtual assistant herself.
"Kids are telling her, ‘Turn on my T.V., tell me today’s weather…" Lauren wrote. "They laugh at her and treat her like a servant, and this has been an ongoing issue, everywhere we go."
Lauren added that her family has also fielded jokes from people who have asked whether the girl "can do the same things the Alexa device does." The constant jokes have upset her daughter, the mother wrote.
"It’s the world we live in," Lauren acknowledged in her letter. "And people mean no harm. But Alexa is a person, not a machine, and people have to stop referring to her like she is one."
In explaining her girl's predicament, the mother said that companies should stop using women's names to label their products, WNBC reported.
"This is everywhere," Lauren told Bezos. "You’ve already ruined the name, but you don’t have to continue to hurt these girls and women. I ask, make an apology and start a movement. I am."
According to WNBC, the mother sent the letter twice before receiving a response from an Amazon spokesperson.
"I'm very sorry to hear about the experience you're having. I definitely understand this has been frustrating," the spokesperson replied. "I really appreciate the time you've taken to voice your concern and let us know about the issues you've run into. I have sent your feedback on to our internal teams. Thanks for making sure we're aware of your experience."
Lauren's daughter is not the first reported victim of bullying due to the virtual assistant's popularity. In 2017, four women in Seattle shared similar experiences with the Seattle Times.
"I work in the service industry, so my name is printed on receipts that people see all the time," Alexa Philbeck, a bartender, told the publication. "I get comments constantly and people trying to make jokes or order me around."
According to TechCrunch, Amazon has sold more than 100 million Alexa devices since they were first launched. "Alexa," as a baby girl name, has also dropped in popularity since the company came out with the home assistant, Fortune reported in 2018.
Though certain names attached to popular products or celebrities (think "Justin" as in "Justin Bieber" or "Justin Timberlake") are more often than not the brunt of jokes, Inc interestingly identified 20 names that one expert found made people more likely to be seen as successful. Those names include Jacqueline, Morgan, Elizabeth, Kate, Steven, Ross, Christopher and Parker.