Bezos -- who also owns TheWashington Post, which President Trump regularly slams for its coverage of him -- released an email showing that executives at American Media Inc., the parent company of the tabloid, were dangling nude photos of Bezos in exchange for the billionaire dropping an investigation into how they obtained private text messages of his.
"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," Bezos wrote on Medium. "I prefer to stand up, roll this log over and see what crawls out."
AMI and its chairman and CEO -- longtime Trump ally David Pecker -- recently agreed to cooperate with federal authorities, who were investigating how the tabloid used unethical "catch and kill" practices to help Trump defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. Pecker admitted the tabloid would buy up negative stories about Trump -- mostly about his alleged extramarital affairs -- by paying sources and then "kill" them so they never saw the light of day.
The latest revelation about AMI and the Enquirer goes further, indicating the media company is in the business of blackmailing and extorting reporters who may uncover their unsavory business practices.
AMI released the following statement to The Advocate:
"American Media believes fervently that it acted lawfully in the reporting of the story of Mr. Bezos. Further, at the time of the recent allegations made by Mr. Bezos, it was in good faith negotiations to resolve all matters with him. Nonetheless, in light of the nature of the allegations published by Mr. Bezos, the Board has convened and determined that it should promptly and thoroughly investigate the claims. Upon completion of that investigation, the Board will take whatever appropriate action is necessary."
The Advocate sought comment from AMI on Farrow's claim, but did not receive an immediate response. Over the course of Thursday night and Friday morning, other journalists came forward with threats they received from AMI, all similar to those described by Bezos and Farrow.
Journalists from The Daily Beast were also threatened with blackmail for their coverage of AMI, reports The Washington Post.