Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has claimed the National Enquirer has tried to blackmail him, with the publication allegedly threatening to publish nude photos of Bezos if the he didn’t drop an investigation over leaked text messages that ultimately ended his marriage.
A social media post includes multiple emails from executives of National Enquirer publisher American Media, Inc. (AMI) allegedly sent by Australian expat Dylan Howard, Chief Content Officer, AMI.
Howard previously worked for Seven News before moving to the US.
Howard describes one of the photos obtained by the publication as a “below the belt selfie — otherwise colloquially known as a ‘d*** pick.’” Other photos described include half-dressed selfies of Bezos in a variety of situations, and photos of his new partner and former TV anchor Lauren Sanchez that Howard described as “revealing her cleavage.”
Bezos alleges that AMI used the photos as leverage to get him to issue a statement that basically said AMI didn’t have political interests in pursuing a story about his affair.
Instead of making a deal, Bezos, who is also owner of The Washington Post, has gone public.
“If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?” he wrote.
The feud between Bezos and the National Enquirer started last month, when the tabloid first published photos showing Bezos with Sanchez, which were supposedly taken before the Amazon CEO filed for a divorce from his wife. The Enquirer then followed up with leaked text messages between the two, some of which allegedly dated back to April of last year.
“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.