San Francisco, Founder and CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos has accused the publisher of National Enquirer, an American tabloid published by American Media Inc. (AMI), of “blackmail” and “extortion”.
Bezos, who is also the owner of The Washington Post, revealed the explosive details on Thursday in a post on the blogging platform Medium.
“Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I’ve decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten,” Bezos wrote in the post while saying that the “top people” at the National Enquirer were responsible for the extortion and blackmail.
Referring to AMI’s Chairman and CEO, David Pecker, Bezos titled his post “No thank you, Mr. Pecker” and alleged that AMI threatened to release compromising photos of him.
“I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse,” wrote Bezos. “Or at least that’s what the top people at the National Enquirer thought. I’m glad they thought that, because it emboldened them to put it all in writing.”
The dispute follows the publication last month by the National Enquirer of a story about Bezos and an extramarital affair with former TV anchor Lauren Sanchez.
Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, are getting divorced after 25 years of marriage, CNN reported.
To find out how the Enquirer obtained his intimate texts to Sanchez, Bezos engaged private investigators led by security consultant Gavin de Becker.
After the investigation was initiated, AMI, Bezos alleged, threatened to release more intimate photos and texts.
“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.
“If we do not agree to affirmatively publicise that specific lie, they say they’ll publish the photos, and quickly. And there’s an associated threat: They’ll keep the photos on hand and publish them in the future if we ever deviate from that lie,” he alleged.