Jeff Bezos Accuses Tabloid Of 'Extortion' Over 'Intimate Texts'
08 February, 2019, 11:11 | Author: Frank Williams
In a post on blogging platform Medium Thursday, Mr Bezos said Enquirer publisher American Media Inc (AMI), led by David Pecker, approached him with a threat to publish the photos if he did not halt an investigation into the motives behind the leak.
Bezos' accusations add another twist to a high-profile clash between the world's richest man and the leader of America's best-known tabloid, a strong backer of President Donald Trump.
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 28: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie Bezos participate in the opening ceremony of the newspaper's new location January 28, 2016 in Washington, DC.
In a stunning blog post on Thursday, Mr Bezosposted an email he said had been sent to his intermediaries by AMI's representatives threatening to publish "intimate photos" of Mr Bezos and his lover, former TV host Lauren Sanchez.
A recent Daily Beast report on the investigation Bezos launched said they considered the leak of the original sexts was "politically motivated".
Bezos said the statement AMI was proposing was false and described the offer as an "extortionate proposal". (That's the fig-leaf justification given by the Enquirer's lawyer.) But because the Enquirer's lawyer offered not to publish the photos in exchange for Bezos doing something valuable for them - namely, a statement from Bezos and his companies "that they have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AM's coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces" - we may have something actionable here.
A spokesperson and an attorney for AMI did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment. "If in my position I can't stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?" he said.
"If we do not agree to affirmatively publicize that specific lie, they say they'll publish the photos, and quickly", Bezos writes.
AMI chief executive David Pecker is an ally of President Donald Trump, who has criticized Bezos for the Post's reporting on his administration and conflated Bezos' ownership of the news organization and Amazon.
A lot of them are pretty standard sexting gear, and I pass no judgement on Bezos or his alleged mistress for the majority of the contents revealed.
In his blog post, Bezos said he made a decision to publish the emails sent to his team "rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail", despite the "personal cost and embarrassment they threaten".
His blog contained itemised details of 10 pictures in an email from the magazine's editor Dylan Howard, who said they had been "obtained during our newsgathering".
"I and at least one other prominent journalist involved in breaking stories about the National Enquirer's arrangement with Trump fielded similar "stop digging or we'll ruin you" blackmail efforts from AMI", Farrow tweeted Thursday evening. "Also, The Post's essential and unrelenting coverage of the murder of its columnist Jamal Khashoggi is undoubtedly unpopular in certain circles".
It's not clear how the Enquirer acquired the texts between Bezos and Sanchez.
This whole story, as Bezos would put it, is complexifying my brain. "It's ripped right out of the law books".
"It's a shocking and frightening thing Mr. Bezos has revealed".
Sounds like soon some people at The National Enquirer are going to "learn to code".
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