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Jeff Bezos criticized for $690,000 donation to Australia bushfires

Many say the richest man in the world could give more, while some say people should be happy with whatever they get.
Credit: AP
FILE- In this Sept. 13, 2018, file photo Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, speaks at The Economic Club of Washington's Milestone Celebration in Washington.

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and the richest man in the world, announced Sunday his company is donating $690,000 to relief efforts in wildfire-devastated Australia.

The response to Bezos from many on social media? Do better.

"Our hearts go out to all Australians as they cope with these devastating bushfires. Amazon is donating 1 million AU dollars in needed provisions and services. Find more about it and learn how customers can help as well," Bezos wrote on Instagram. The exchange rate makes that about $690,500 U.S.

Bezos is worth $117.2 billion, according to Forbes.

Bezos' announcement comes on the heels of multiple donations from celebrities, some of which exceeded Bezos' amount. Leonardo DiCaprio's Earth Alliance environmental organization is donating $3 million. Actor Chris Hemsworth and singer Elton John have pledged $1 million, metal band Metallica is donating $750,000 and singer Pink is donating $500,000, just to name a few.

RELATED: Leonardo DiCaprio's Earth Alliance gives $3 million to Australia fire relief

RELATED: Elton John, Chris Hemsworth, Metallica pledge $2.75 million to Australia fire response

The comments on Bezos' post were mostly negative, calling him out given how much money he and his company make.

"I feel that your pledge of one million dollars AU is showing absolutely no generosity whatsoever but rather how cheap you are Mr. Bezos..." wrote David Strawther.

"You're the richest man on the planet. You've made more than 1 million AU dollars in the time it took me to type this," wrote someone going by the name Mr. J. An estimate by Business Insider in 2018 found Bezos earns that amount about every five minutes.

Another responder did the math and discovered Bezos' donation amount would be equal to a person who is worth $50,000 donating 29 cents.

A few people came to Bezos' defense, saying Australia should be grateful with anything and that how he spends his money is his business.

"If I was him I would cancel the donation. What does his net worth have to do with anything they gave?" wrote Godwin Obele.

Amazon Australia announced in a blog post last week that it is donating needed items to organizations on the front lines, technical support, and cash donations to relief agencies.

The fires that started in September have destroyed a reported 13 million acres, killed 27 people and destroyed over 2,000 homes. More than 1.25 billion animals are estimated to have been killed and some local species could be driven to extinction.

Bushfires are normal for Australia, where it is currently summer. Scientists say naturally-occurring weather patterns are behind many of the fires and there have been a handful of human-caused fires, too. But experts say the fires are being made more intense by climate change. They warn it may be a sign of things to come for the planet unless there is a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Last year was reportedly Australia's warmest and driest in recorded history.

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