Amazon CEO Bezos Accuses National Enquirer of Blackmail
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos accused the National Enquirer and its publisher David Pecker of extortion and blackmail, according to Bloomberg.
The magazine, owned by American Media, published an expose on Bezos’s relationship with former TV anchor Lauren Sanchez, and Bezos has hired investigators to find out if the story was politically motivated. He owns the Washington Post, which has written critical stories about Trump, who counts Pecker as a close ally.
In a surprising move on Thursday, Bezos said the National Enquirer threatened to publish more details and revealing photos if the executive didn’t stop the probe. His statement online included vivid descriptions of the images. "Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I’ve decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten," Bezos wrote in a post on Medium. "Any personal embarrassment AMI could cause me takes a back seat because there’s a much more important matter involved here. If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?"
Bezos also suggested that the Washington Post’s coverage of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi may have motivated the National Enquirer’s investigation. "For reasons still to be better understood, the Saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive nerve," the billionaire wrote.
The magazine investigated Bezos because his wealth and position made him a newsworthy subject, and its reporting isn’t influenced by politics, according to copies of emails allegedly from AMI lawyer Jon Fine that Bezos included in his post. In one of those emails, Fine proposed Bezos release a mutually agreed upon statement to a news outlet saying that he had no basis for suggesting AMI’s coverage was politically motivated. In exchange, the media group would refrain from publishing other texts and photos featuring Bezos, according to the email released by the Amazon CEO.