Jeff Bezos Accuses ‘The National Enquirer’ & American Media Of “Extortion & Blackmail”
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and the richest man in the world, accused The National Enquirer and its partner company American of “extortion and blackmail” on Thursday. He mentioned everything from White House politics, Saudi Arabian deals and nude photos as pieces of this sordid saga.
Bezos alleges that American Media Inc., the leading supermarket tabloid publisher, tried to blackmail him in a detailed post published on Medium. Just last month, Bezos was targeted by the Enquirer in an expose of his affair with former TV host Lauren Sanchez.
The Amazon founder began his piece with a direct shot at David Pecker, head of the tabloid, with the title,“No thank you, Mr. Pecker.” Bezos alleged that the company made him “an offer he couldn’t refuse.” However, he did and called their bluff on threats to publish nude photos of himself rather than say that their reporting on the affair wasn’t politically motivated.
Bezos purchased The Washington Post back in 2013. The newspaper has often been the target of attacks by President Donald Trump who’s been under well-earned scrutiny from the media outlet. The Enquirer, on the other hand, has frequently aligned themselves with Trump, using “catch and kill” tactics to decrease negative publicity around the President. However, when federal prosecutors confronted them, the tabloid quickly shifted away from promoting Trump on its covers. Instead, it shifted to attacks against Trump’s enemies, similar to the coordination tactics of super PAC advertising money.
The January 28 edition of The Enquirer hit supermarket checkout line shelves just a day after Bezos and his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie Bezos, publicly announced they were getting a divorce. The tabloid had prepared 11 pages to the story, calling it “the biggest investigation in Enquirer history!”
While tech executives aren’t usually on the cover of The Enquirer, Pecker’s longtime friendship with Trump has pushed Bezos into the crosshairs. After his private life became public, Bezos began an investigation into the tabloids motives and how it had gotten private texts to his mistress among others. American Media struck back with the alleged “blackmail” offer to Bezos for killing the investigation. Bezos wouldn’t have it. “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,” Mr. Bezos wrote. “I prefer to stand up, roll this log over and see what crawls out.”