Jeff Bezos Alleges National Enquirer of Blackmail with Intimate Photos
Jeff Bezos, the founder of e-commerce giant Amazon, has alleged the National Enquirer of blackmailing with intimate photos which led to his divorce. He reportedly is having an extramarital relationship with Lauren Sanchez.
An Amazon representative confirmed that the post by Bezos on the online publishing platform Medium as authentic. However, the representative refused to comment further on this issue.
Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post, posted screenshots of emails sent by representatives from American Media Inc. (AMI), the Enquirer’s parent company. The emails threaten to publish more than 10 photographs which included portions of Bezos’ and Sanchez’s genitalia and simulated sex acts, unless Bezos and his longtime security chief, Gavin de Becker, agree to make a statement “affirming that they have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AM’s coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces and an agreement that they will cease referring to such a possibility,” among other terms.
Bezos wrote in that post, “Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I have decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten.”
In a statement Friday morning, AMI said it “believes fervently that it acted lawfully in the reporting of the story of Mr. Bezos,” and that AMI was negotiating in good faith to resolve matters with him at the time of his Thursday post.
AMI said, “Nonetheless, in light of the nature of the allegations published by Mr. Bezos, the Board has convened and determined that it should promptly and thoroughly investigate the claims.”
However, AMI wanted to shred the responsibility off as the post alleged AMI had sent those emails to Jeff having a political motivation. As per the story, Bezos had directed de Becker to investigate how and why of the Enquirer’s investigation of him.
The Post reported, “Depending on whom you believe, the Enquirer’s exposé on Bezos’ affair was a political hit inspired by President Trump’s allies, an inside job by people seeking to protect Bezos’s marriage, or no conspiracy at all, simply a juicy gossip story.”
It should be reported here that Jeff Bezos on Twitter announced his intention to divorce his wife, MacKenzie. The Enquirer started posting its expose reports that day only.
The Post also quoted de Becker saying that the revelation of Jeff’s affair with Sanchez, a former television anchor, and helicopter pilot, is politically motivated. De Becker also guessed that the leak was to embarrass Bezos in his capacity as owner of the Post, which he purchased in 2013.
In a statement, AMI rejected The Post’s allegations that any external force has interfered in the investigation. AMI described the investigation as the largest till date as it had consumed four months and covering 40,000 miles.
However, AMI chief executive David Pecker is an ally of President Donald Trump, who has previously criticized Bezos for the Post’s reporting on his administration and combined Bezos’ ownership of the news organization and Amazon.
Pecker’s publication is previously known for his strategy of “catch and kill.” It implies buying the rights to scandalous stories in an attempt to keep them secret. In December, the Justice Department made the AMI admit of a non-prosecution agreement, and it admitted to making a $150,000 payment to a woman during the 2016 presidential campaign to silence her “damning allegations” against Trump before the election.
Bezos also wrote that his ownership of The Washington Post “is a complexifier for me. It’s unavoidable that some powerful people who experience Washington Post news coverage would wrongly conclude I am their enemy. President Trump is one of those people, obvious by his many tweets.”
Still, Jeff wrote, “I do not at all regret my investment.”
Bezos claimed through his lawyers that the Enquirer has no right to publish the revealing photos, arguing that he and Sanchez hold the copyright to their own images and that the photos “don’t add anything newsworthy.”
AMI representative, however, countered saying publishing the photos is legal under the “fair use” doctrine of copyright law, and that “Mr. Bezos’ judgment as reflected by his texts and photos is indeed newsworthy and in the public interest,” given his leadership of Amazon.
Bezos denied the idea that the tumult in his personal life is impacting his role at the Seattle-based commerce and technology giant. On the day he announced his divorce, the company said that Bezos “remains focused on and engaged in all aspects of Amazon.” Bezos said he directed de Becker to “prioritize protecting my time since I have other things I prefer to work on,” and touted Amazon’s business success.
Bezos’s divorce has been prime time news all over the globe as it would diminish his shares in Amazon by half.