Amazon's Bezos accuses tabloid of blackmail

08 February, 2019, 10:25 | Author: Billie Castillo
  • Bezos claims extortion blackmail from National Enquirer

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said Thursday he was the target of "extortion and blackmail" by the publisher of the National Enquirer, which he said threatened to publish revealing personal photos of him unless he stopped investigating its acquisition of other private images and messages and unless he declared its coverage wasn't politically motivated. Hours later, the National Enquirer published a story detailing an alleged affair between the billionaire and entertainment personality Lauren Sanchez, publishing pictures and text messages between the couple. An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment other than to confirm that Bezos wrote the post.

Bezos included an email from Howard to de Becker's lawyer. "I hope common sense can prevail - and quickly". Any personal embarrassment AMI could cause me takes a back seat because there's a much more important matter involved here.

The blog post marks the latest twist in a weeks-long saga that has brought the personal life of Mr Bezos, the richest person in the world, into the spotlight.

In its January 9 story, the Enquirer reported that Bezos sent "sleazy text messages and gushing love notes" to Sanchez, months before Bezos announced he was splitting up with his wife, MacKenzie.

Now, the magazine says it has Bezos' private and intimate photos, including a "below the belt selfie" and revealing photos of Sanchez.

This story is breaking and will be updated as more information comes in.

And in his Medium post, Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post, pointed to AMI and David Pecker's previous cooperation with Trump - including payments made to suppress negative stories, now under investigation by federal prosecutors.

The Post story quoted de Becker saying the revelation of Bezos' affair with Sanchez, a former television anchor and helicopter pilot, resulted from a "politically motivated" leak.

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Early in the blog post, Mr Bezos mentions AMI's links to President Donald Trump.

[.] Because of both [their] friendship and the money that Pecker saw could be made from promoting the Republican presidential candidate, Pecker used the "National Enquirer" as a forum for promoting Trump's campaign.

AMI, the owner of the National Enquirer, is led by David Pecker.

AMI did not immediately return a request for comment. The deal not to prosecute was conditional on AMI not committing another crime, the office said. "For prosecutors, your worst nightmare is watching a cooperation deal unravel". I'm glad they thought that, because it emboldened them to put it all in writing.

"Depending on whom you believe, the Enquirer's exposé on Bezos' affair was a political hit inspired by President Trump's allies, an inside job by people seeking to protect Bezos' marriage, or no conspiracy at all, simply a juicy gossip story", the Post reported. De Becker proceeded to tell media that the leak was politically motivated.

So instead of quietly capitulating to avoid embarrassment, Bezos wrote his first-ever Medium post, making public the tabloid's threats and demands.

"It's unavoidable that certain powerful people who experience Washington Post news coverage will wrongly conclude I am their enemy", he wrote. He also pointed to owning The Post and their coverage of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi as potential reasons people could be targeting him. Bezos contends that his own investigation displeased the Enquirer brass.

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