CEO of Amazon accuses National Enquirer publisher of ‘extortion’

Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin
Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin, inspects New Shepard’s West Texas launch facility before the rocket’s maiden voyage. (Photo: Courtesy, Blue Origin)

San
Francisco, Feb 09. Founder and CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos has accused the
publisher of National Enquirer, an American tabloid published by American Media
Inc. (AMI), of “blackmail” and “extortion”.

Bezos, who
is also the owner of The Washington Post, revealed the explosive details on
Thursday in a post on the blogging platform Medium.

“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 the post while saying that the “top
people” at the National Enquirer were responsible for the extortion and
blackmail.

Referring to
AMI’s Chairman and CEO, David Pecker, Bezos titled his post “No thank you,
Mr. Pecker” and alleged that AMI threatened to release compromising photos
of him.

“I was
made an offer I couldn’t refuse,” wrote Bezos. “Or at least that’s
what the top people at the National Enquirer thought. I’m glad they thought
that, because it emboldened them to put it all in writing.”

The dispute
follows the publication last month by the National Enquirer of a story about
Bezos and an extramarital affair with former TV anchor Lauren Sanchez.

Bezos and
his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, are getting divorced after 25 years of marriage, CNN
reported.

To find out
how the Enquirer obtained his intimate texts to Sanchez, Bezos engaged private
investigators led by security consultant Gavin de Becker.

After the
investigation was initiated, AMI, Bezos alleged, threatened to release more
intimate photos and texts.

“In the
AMI letters I’m making public, you will see the precise details of their
extortionate proposal: They will publish the personal photos unless Gavin de
Becker and I make the specific false public statement to the press that we
‘have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI’s coverage was politically
motivated or influenced by political forces’,” Bezos wrote.

“If we do not agree to affirmatively publicise that specific lie, they say they’ll publish the photos, and quickly. And there’s an associated threat: They’ll keep the photos on hand and publish them in the future if we ever deviate from that lie,” he alleged.

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