The CEO of Amazon and world's richest man, Jeff Bezos, accused the owner of The National Enquirer on Thursday of "extortion and blackmail" in order to stop an investigation he was conducting into how the Trump-aligned tabloid obtained his private messages and photos.
In a shockingly transparent post on Medium, Bezos outlined how employees of the tabloid's owner, David Pecker, recently threatened Bezos's associates, who were trying to discover how Enquirer reporters got a hold of Bezos's intimate content. The tech executive -- and owner of the Washington Post, a favorite target of the president -- says Pecker threatened to release nude photos of him and his girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez.
Bezos says he wanted to not capitulate to the alleged extortion and decided to make all threats public in hopes of undermining them.
"Of course I don't want personal photos published, but I also won't to participate in their well-known practice of blackmail, political favors, political attacks and corruption," Bezos wrote. "I prefer to stand up, roll this log over and see what crawls out."
Issues between the two men came to light last month after Bezos announced that he was filing for divorce from wife MacKenzie Bezos. Pecker's tabloid published an article the next day claiming Bezos was having an affair with television personality Lauren Sanchez.
Also, it was reported in December that Pecker is cooperating with federal authorities looking into potential crimes involving Trump associates; Pecker admitted to killing unfavorable Trump stories in an effort to help Trump defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
On Medium, Bezos included emails between himself and Pecker's intermediaries to show the range of threats that were made towards him and Sanchez. The emails explicitly state various types of content that Bezos maintains he'd prefer not to be made public. Descriptions of the content range from "d*ck pick" [sic] to selfies during board meetings.
Before sharing these threats, Bezos noted that the emails could better explain what he was experiencing than he could write.
The Advocatereached out to American Media Inc, the publisher of the tabloid, and their chief content officer Dylan Howard for comment on these emails. Below is an excerpt of one:
From: Howard, Dylan [firstname.lastname@example.org] (Chief Content Officer, AMI)
Sent: Tuesday, February 5, 2019 3:33 PM
To: Martin Singer (litigation counsel for Mr. de Becker)
Subject:. Jeff Bezos & Ms. Lauren Sanchez Photos
CONFIDENTIAL & NOT FOR DISTRIBIUTION
I am leaving the office for the night. I will be available on my cell -- 917 XXX-XXXX.
However, in the interests of expediating this situation, and with The Washington Post poised to publish unsubstantiated rumors of The National Enquirer's initial report, I wanted to describe to you the photos obtained during our newsgathering.
In addition to the "below the belt selfie -- otherwise colloquially known as a 'd*ck pick'" -- The Enquirer obtained a further nine images. These include:
"In addition to the "below the belt selfie -- otherwise colloquially known as a 'd*ck pick'" -- The Enquirer obtained a further nine images. These include:
* Mr. Bezos face selfie at what appears to be a business meeting.
* Ms. Sanchez response -- a photograph of her smoking a cigar in what appears to be a simulated oral sex scene.
* A shirtless Mr. Bezos holding his phone in his left hand -- while wearing his wedding ring. He's wearing either tight black cargo pants or shorts -- and his semi-erect manhood is penetrating the zipper of said garment.
* A full-length body selfie of Mr. Bezos wearing just a pair of tight black boxer-briefs or trunks, with his phone in his left hand -- while wearing his wedding ring.
* A selfie of Mr. Bezos fully clothed.
* A full-length scantily-clad body shot with short trunks.
* A naked selfie in a bathroom -- while wearing his wedding ring. Mr. Bezos is wearing nothing but a white towel -- and the top of his pubic region can be seen.
* Ms. Sanchez wearing a plunging red neckline dress revealing her cleavage and a glimpse of her nether region.
* Ms. Sanchez wearing a two-piece red bikini with gold detail dress revealing her cleavage.
It would give no editor pleasure to send this email. I hope common sense can prevail -- and quickly.