Jeff Bezos Alleges National Enquirer of Blackmail Over Photos

Gladys Abbott
February 8, 2019

Earlier Thursday, the Amazon CEO alleged that American Media Inc. - the Enquirer's parent company - threatened to publish a nude photo of him if he didn't stop investigating the magazine's exposure of his affair and publicly declare that its reporting hadn't been "politically motivated".

The confrontation began last month when Mr Bezos and his wife MacKenzie announced that they were getting divorced.

The Bezos affair became public when the Enquirer published a January 9 story about his relationship with Lauren Sanchez, a former TV anchor who is also married.

Mr Bezos, who has kept his personal life largely out of the public eye, said in his post that he had then quickly "engaged investigators to learn how those texts were obtained, and to determine the motives for the many unusual actions taken by The Enquirer".

Bezos, who is also owner of the Washington Post, detailed his interactions with American Media Inc.in an extraordinary blog post Thursday on the Medium.com website. In exchange for a promise to not publish embarrassing photos obtained from his text messages, AMI's general counsel Jon Fine asked for Bezos and his lawyer for a statement "affirming that they have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AM's coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces".

A Fox News request for comment from AMI was not immediately returned.

Bezos, who owns more than $120 billion in Amazon stock, continued, "If in my position I can't stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?"

David Pecker, the CEO of National Enquirer parent company AMI, is a longtime ally of President Donald Trump.

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Bezos wrote that this week, the tabloid's editor, Dylan Howard, emailed an attorney for Bezos' longtime security consultant to describe photos the Enquirer "obtained during our newsgathering".

AMI, the owner of the National Enquirer, is led by David Pecker. He added, "It would give no editor pleasure to send this email". The Enquirer later published what it called "sleazy text messages and gushing love notes" between Bezos and Sanchez, raising questions about how the tabloid was able to get such intimate material. Pecker directed the Enquirer to write favorable stories about Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, while paying $150,000 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal to suppress her claim of a long-running affair with Trump.

Pecker is now cooperating with federal investigators who are looking into the company's involvement with the Trump campaign.

"Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I've chose to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten", Bezos wrote in the post, which was entitled "No thank you, Mr. Pecker" and included copies of emails from AMI.

· Mr. Bezos face selfie at what appears to be a business meeting.

The National Enquirer previously published an expose on Sanchez' and Bezos' relationship. The deal not to prosecute was conditional on AMI not committing another crime, the office said.

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

"It shows how complicated and risky it is to make an agreement with National Enquirer", Levenson said.

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