Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ public feud with the National Enquirer took a fresh turn when he accused the owner of the American tabloid of trying to blackmail him. According to a blog post published by Bezos, he stated that the tabloid threatened him with the publication of intimate photographs if he did not retract his statement in which he accused the National Enquirer’s coverage as being politically motivated. The photographs are allegedly ‘intimate’ in nature and constitute those which he had sent to his girlfriend. The whole thing started after the Amazon founder announced his divorce from his wife of 25 years and immediately details emerged of him having a relationship with former television host Lauren Sanchez.
Needless to say, this has turned into a high stakes battle for Jeff Bezos, considering the fact that the National Enquirer is not only one of the most popular American tabloids but also has close ties to the United States President Donald Trump. Trump has gone after Bezos, Amazon and Bezos-owned newspaper Washington Post repeatedly through tweets. In the blog post in question, Bezos pointed out that he is willing to take the risk and not give in to extortion. “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.” The owner of the National Enquirer, American Media Inc (AMI), did not respond following these allegations.
The most damning bit about Bezos’ blog post is that he reproduced an e-mail that was sent by Jon Fine, a lawyer with AMI to the legal representative of De Becker. In that, Fine demanded that both De Becker and Bezos acknowledged that there was no basis in them suggesting that the National Enquirer’s coverage was in any way politically motivated. If they made the statement, then the National Enquirer would pledge “not to publish, distribute, share, or describe unpublished texts and photos.”
After the leaks came to light, Bezos commissioned a thorough investigation headed by Gavin de Becker. De Becker has gone on record and informed the media that the leaks were politically motivated. In his blog post, Bezos agreed that it was politically motivated and in fact, went as far as to include President Donald Trump among the people who think that the Amazon founder is their enemy. “It’s unavoidable that certain powerful people who experience Washington Post news coverage will wrongly conclude I am their enemy. President Trump is one of those people, obvious by his many tweets.”