In a lengthy blog post on Medium, Amazon and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos has accused the owners of the National Enquirer of what he calls “extortion and blackmail” after representatives of the Enquirer contacted him to inform him that they had a host of intimate messages and photos exchanged by him and a partner, proposing an agreement in which they would not publish those photos if Bezos and the Washington Post drop investigations into whether the Enquirer’s previous treatment of Trump or other stories in the tabloid were “politically motivated or influenced by political forces.”
Several days ago, an AMI leader advised us that Mr. Pecker is “apoplectic” about our investigation. For reasons still to be better understood, the Saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive nerve.
A few days after hearing about Mr. Pecker’s apoplexy, we were approached, verbally at first, with an offer. They said they had more of my text messages and photos that they would publish if we didn’t stop our investigation.
As part of that post, Bezos reproduces the correspondence he says was sent by the Enquirer’s lawyers. It appears to back up his claims: An initial message by an American Media representative describes the explicit materials the Enquirer has obtained is followed by a message that explicitly proposes that the National Enquirer “agrees not to public” the intimate texts and images if Bezos publicly refutes the idea that the Enquirer had political motivations in their reporting and agrees to halt any such investigation. A third message makes it clear that the agreement is intended to also bar the Washington Post itself from further investigating the Enquirer’s actions.
Bezos would appear to have David Pecker and the Enquirer dead to rights on this one. The threat to publish intimate photos of Bezos is linked directly to a demand that Bezos curtail Post investigations into Pecker’s actions. It would appear to be, on its face, an effort to blackmail Bezos and the Post into silence.
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