Amazon founder Jeff Bezos claimed that he was blackmailed by David Pecker’s National Enquirer by threatening to publish some sexual pictures that involved him and possibly his girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez.
This allegation was made by Bezos in a blog headlined “No Thank you, Mr. Pecker” where the Amazon CEO claimed that he was contacted by a lawyer for the National Enquirer with the threat of exposing and publishing the photos – one of them also was, what Bezos described to be a “below the belt selfie.”
AMI, the publisher of the tabloid, was accused of blackmail and extortion by Bezos in the blog post that was published on Thursday. According to Bezos, he was asked by AMI to make a public admission that there were no political motivations in the way the media had covered the story of his divorce. Bezos believes that the request that was made to him was probably in connection to the comments that were made by his security boss Gavin de Becker, who had earlier told the Daily Beast that “strong leads point to political motives” in the manner in which the AMI covered Bezo’s divorce.
“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 in the post.
The divorce between Bezos and his wife MacKenzie was announced by them on January 9 this year. On the very same day, Bezos’ affair with Sanchez, was reported by the National Enquirer. The report also carried private photos of the two dating. It was not until Thursday that Bezos publicly addressed the Enquirer’s report.
Pecker, the publisher of the Enquirer is a friend of United States President Donald Trump.
On the other hand, The Washington Post is owned by Bezos. Trump has on numerous occasions, criticised Bezos on Twitter.
Bezos accused AMI of “weaponizing journalistic privileges” ion the blohg post.
“These communications cement AMI’s long-earned reputation for weaponizing journalistic privileges, hiding behind important protections, and ignoring the tenets and purpose of true journalism. Of course I don’t want personal photos published, but I also won’t participate in their well-known practice of blackmail, political favors, political attacks, and corruption. I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out,” Bezos wrote.
There have been no comments so far from AMI about the blog from Bezos. Neither were there any comments available from Amazon.com, the share of which were down by 1.7 per cent as on Friday.
(Adapted from NYTimes.com)