Jeff Bezos has accused the National Enquirer of issuing blackmail threats consisting of nude pictures of the Amazon CEO. The threat was made following a probe by Bezos into a National Inquirer story that looked at the billionaire’s relationship with TV’s Lauren Sanchez. Bezos revealed what was said to him via a Medium post where he posted details of the photos they have on him and the emails that he received from the magazine.
Following the Enquirer’s piece about Bezos and Sanchez, he hired Gavin de Becker to lead an investigation into how private text messages were obtained and to find out the motives of the outlet. What’s interesting is that Bezos believes they could be politically motivated. Bezos accused Pecker of being close to both Donald Trump and the Saudis, two entities that The Washington Post has been critical of.
Threats were initially made verbally with an offer by the National Enquirer, which said that it had more texts and photos that they’d publish if the investigation wasn’t stopped. To this, Bezos’ lawyers claimed that the Amazon CEO holds the copyright to the photos so they can’t publish them without permission. In a follow-up email, Dylan Howard, Chief Content Officer at AMI (the firm that owns the National Enquirer), described the photos they had on Bezos.
In his blog post, Bezos said these communications confirm AMI’s reputation of abusing journalistic privileges and hiding behind protections, he said:
“These communications cement AMI’s long-earned reputation for weaponizing journalistic privileges, hiding behind important protections, and ignoring the tenets and purpose of true journalism. Of course I don’t want personal photos published, but I also won’t participate in their well-known practice of blackmail, political favors, political attacks, and corruption. I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out.”
It’ll be interesting to see how the market reacts to the threats issued against Bezos, after all, one of the claims of newsworthiness that AMI offered up was that the photos show Amazon shareholders how Bezos’ “business judgment is terrible”.