In a blog post published on Medium, World’s Richest Man and Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos has accused National Enquirer of trying to blackmail him by threatening to publish 10 intimate photos of him unless he stopped the investigation into how the tabloid obtained his private messages and images.
Bezos produced emails that appear to show associates of David Pecker, who is the chairman of American Media Inc., the parent company of the National Enquirer demanding that Bezos state that the tabloid’s coverage of him were in no way politically motivated, and that if he refused, the publication would publish intimate photos of him and Lauren Sanchez, who Bezos had a relationship with.
He also said the publication was adept weaponizing journalistic privileges and hiding behind the protections while ignoring true journalism. Bezos also said while he doesn’t want the photos published, he also won’t participate in the company’s practice of blackmail and corruption.
The feud started last month after National Enquirer published a 12 page article that contained text messages between Bezos and Sanchez, shortly after his wife, Mackenzie Bezos announced the couple were getting separated. After the publication, Bezos’ security consultant, Gavin de Becker started an investigation to find the source of the messages. Becker subsequently confirmed that he was investigating, Michael Sanchez, the brother of Lauren Sanchez, who is a known supporter of the President and ally to Roger Stone and Carter Page. Becker said they were strong leads to support the premise that the publication of the messages were politically motivated.
Bezos owns the Washington Post and the paper has been critical of Trump’s Presidency, who has in turn labelled the paper “Amazon Washington Post.” The President even waged into the dilemma after the publication and tweeted: “So sorry to hear the news about Jeff Bozo being taken down by a competitor whose reporting, I understand, is far more accurate than the reporting in his lobbyist newspaper, the Amazon Washington Post.”
The National Enquirer has always covered Trump in great light over the years and was a medium to pass his messages across as a New York real estate tycoon. The paper is also in the middle of Mueller’s investigation into Trump-Russia collusion and the obstruction of justice case against Trump. In December, the company admitted to paying Karen McDougal, a woman who alleges she had an affair with the president, $150,000 shortly before the 2016 election to “suppress” her story and “prevent it from influencing the election.