Blackmail threat: Jeff Bezos hits out at National Enquirer and Trump
Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, has accused the National Enquirer's owner of extortion and blackmail over the publication of private texts and intimate images.
Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, recently announced they were getting divorced. This came just before the National Enquirer carried reports about the former’s extramarital affair. In a hard hitting Medium post, Bezos claims that American Media Inc (AMI), which publishes the National Enquirer, and its Chief Executive David Pecker threatened to publish text messages and images if the tech titan didn’t halt an investigation into how AMI obtained the material.
“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 says.
He goes on to state that reporting of his private life by the tabloid was “politically motivated”, due to his ownership of the Washington Post, which has been highly critical of Pecker and his close ally, Donald Trump.
“My ownership of the Washington Post is a complexifier for me. It’s unavoidable that certain powerful people who experience Washington Post news coverage will wrongly conclude I am their enemy,” he writes. “President Trump is one of those people, obvious by his many tweets. Also, The Post’s essential and unrelenting coverage of the murder of its columnist Jamal Khashoggi is undoubtedly unpopular in certain circles.”
He adds: “Even though The Post is a complexifier for me, I do not at all regret my investment. The Post is a critical institution with a critical mission. My stewardship of The Post and my support of its mission, which will remain unswerving, is something I will be most proud of when I’m 90 and reviewing my life, if I’m lucky enough to live that long, regardless of any complexities it creates for me.”
AMI did not respond to our request for comment.