A senior official with the AARP, formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons, on Tuesday took an apparent swipe at millennials over the popular “OK, boomer” message, arguing that the older generations “actually have the money.”
“OK, millennials. But we’re the people that actually have the money,” Myrna Blyth, senior vice president and editorial director of AARP Media, told Axios in an interview in which she addressed the group’s success with its digital and print assets.
The remarks referenced a meme that pushes back against older generations’ criticism of millennials and Generation Z. The two-word refrain of “OK, Boomer” has been embedded in dozens of viral posts on platforms such as Twitter and TikTok. The line gained further attention last week after a 25-year-old New Zealand lawmaker used it to dismiss a colleague who heckled her as she spoke about climate change in Parliament.
Blyth’s comments led to criticism on social media, with many arguing that she seemed to miss why the “OK, Boomer” tagline had become popular. Taylor Lorenz, a New York Times reporter who covers internet culture, tweeted that the “problem” is that older generations “have the money.”
Lol right…. that’s the problem pic.twitter.com/AEeGeSfDuw
— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) November 12, 2019
AARP’s media relations editorial manager, Colby Nelson, told The Washington Post that Blyth’s comments were not meant to dismiss millennials’ concerns.
“Blyth’s point is that ad and marketing execs routinely pit generations against one another and overlook older people, especially older women,” Nelson said in a statement, adding that Blyth cares about economic issues impacting younger generations.
The AARP did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.
While speaking with Axios, Blyth noted that the AARP’s demo audience, which targets people over the age of 50, “drives $7.1 trillion in annual economic activity each and every year.”
The group, which reportedly has about 38 million members, accumulates more than $174 million in media-based advertising revenue annually, according to public filings obtained by Axios. The news outlet added that “AARP The Magazine” became the most circulated magazine in the U.S. in 2017.
Millennials on average have amassed slightly less money than the Boomer generation did when they were the same age, according to a Pew Research Center report from earlier this year. The report said that the difference stemmed in part from millennials having more “outstanding student debt” and that the debt tended to be larger.