Bezos accuses Enquirer of ‘blackmail’ over intimate photos
09 February, 2019, 03:29 | Author: Sally Reid
A plot twist in the real life drama we call 2019 that no one saw coming was Amazon CEO and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos getting out ahead of American Media Inc.'s (AMI) apparent extortion plot, publishing in lurid detail what was threatened and why.
The dispute, and the extraordinary release of an agreement apparently proposed by AMI, stems from the publication last month by the National Enquirer of a story about Bezos and an extramarital affair with former TV anchor Lauren Sanchez.
NEW YORK: The stunning extortion claims made by Amazon and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos against the Trump-friendly National Enquirer tabloid have spotlighted a fierce behind-the-scenes media feud, taking place in an ever more toxic United States political climate.
The company responded by saying in a statement on Friday morning that "American Media believes fervently that it acted lawfully in the reporting of the story of Mr. Bezos".
AMI said that it had been "in good faith negotiations to resolve all matters with him" when the allegations were made, and that its board had "convened and determined that it should promptly and thoroughly investigate the claims".
In his Medium post, Bezos wrote that Pecker and AMI are under investigation "for various actions they've taken on behalf of the Saudi Government", noting that the tabloid recently published a special, pro-Saudi propaganda edition.
"It's unavoidable that certain powerful people who experience Washington Post news coverage will wrongly conclude I am their enemy", Bezos wrote "President Trump is one of those people, obvious by his many tweets". Last month, he and his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie, announced plans to divorce.
Jeff Bezos Prefers to "stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out".
In his blog post, Mr Bezos mentioned AMI's links to President Donald Trump.
What kind of person walks away from a near-catastrophic brush with federal prosecutors, only to immediately resume committing the silliest, most foolish of crimes?
"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", Bezos said in explaining his decision to go public.
The U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan declined to comment.
In return for such an acknowledgment, according to the email, AMI offered "not to publish, distribute, share, or describe unpublished texts and photos", Bezos said.
A long-simmering feud between Donald Trump and Jeff Bezos took a weird turn after the multibillionaire accused allies of the president of brazenly trying to extort him.
Bezos revealed yesterday that AMI had sent a letter to his team, threatening to expose intimate pictures if the Amazon CEO did not abandon his investigation into how the Enquirer knew about his affair with Lauren Sanchez.
In his blog, Bezos cited an email from AMI deputy general counsel, Jon Fine, to a lawyer representing de Becker.
In its January 9 story, the Enquirer said reporters followed Bezos and Sanchez "across five states and 40,000 miles" and "tailed them in private jets, swanky limos, helicopter rides, romantic hikes, five-star hotel hideaways, intimate dinner dates and "quality time" in hidden love nests".
The hush-money payment, and a similar one to another woman, was made on the eve of Trump's 2016 presidential election victory.
Bezos retained Gavin de Becker to investigate the revelation of his affair.
"If they didn't reach out beforehand for an investigation, it raises a whole series of credibility questions".
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