This Day in Failure: March 22

2020: Jeff Bezos and Amazon begin soliciting public donations to pay for sick leave for contract workers who are diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine. Despite $280 billion in revenue and $11.9 billion in profits in 2019 (and zero paid in federal income tax), the company continues its policy of not providing any sick leave for its contract workers. Instead workers who are affected by COVID-19 must apply to the “Amazon Relief Fund” for a grant to cover their sick leave.

2009: Ball State defeats the two-time defending national champion Lady Volunteers in the opening round of the women’s NCAA basketball tournament, making Tennessee the first defending champ in tourney history to lose its opening game. Before falling to the twelfth-seeded Cardinals, 71-55, Tennessee had never lost a game in the first two rounds, posting a record of 42-0. It’s also the Vols’ first tourney loss to a team seeded lower than #4, having been 51-0 against teams seeded between #5 and #16.

2002: The Associated Press obtains a document distributed by South Africa’s ruling African National Congress that questions the existence of AIDS, claims that HIV tests are ineffective, and condemns AIDS medications as poisonous.

1978: Karl Wallenda, 73, patriarch of the Flying Wallendas high-wire troop, is killed attempting to walk a wire between two hotels in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

1973: A pair of Norwegian bulk carriers—the Norse Variant and the Anita—disappear without a trace off the coast of New Jersey, sunk during a storm characterized by fifty-foot waves and sixty-knot winds. Only one of the sixty-three men aboard the two massive ships survives; he is found floating in the North Atlantic 120 miles from where the Norse Variant went down.