Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and the world’s richest man, has accused the National Enquirer of threatening to publish nude photos of him. In a lengthy blog post on Medium, Bezos said that their threats to publicly embarrass him were linked to his ongoing investigation into their leak of private text messages between him and his purported girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez. The post from the billionaire is titled “No Thank You, Mr. Pecker,” in reference to David Pecker, the chairman of American Media Inc, the Enquirer’s parent company.
“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.
As the New York Times reports, this saga between the National Enquirer and Jeff Bezos has been going on for some time. The public first caught wind of it when Bezos and his wife announced that they were getting a divorce. Right after the announcement, the Enquirer published an article exposing the Sanchez/Bezos relationship and the story was picked up by multiple media outlets.
As for the most recent leak of texts, the Daily Beast previously reported that Bezos and his investigators have concluded that it was politically motivated. In his post, Bezos claims that his ownership of the Washington Post has put a big target on his back because “powerful people who experience Washington Post news coverage” see him as their foe.
He goes on to note that President Donald Trump has made disparaging tweets against him in the past. As the Guardian reports, David Pecker has previously admitted to prosecutors that he colluded with the Trump presidential campaign to pay off former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal so that she would keep quiet about her story of an alleged affair between her and the president. McDougal received $150,000.
In his blog post, Bezos published unconfirmed emails between the attorney for his lead investigator, and the chief content officer for AMI, Dylan Howard. In them, Howard outlines the photos of Bezos that are in the company’s possession and they include, a “below the belt selfie,” a photo of Lauren Sanchez smoking a cigar in a way that he allegedly said seemed to resemble oral sex, and a photo of Bezos in tight cargo pants/shorts which revealed some of his private parts.
According to Bezos’ post, Howard said that these photos would be released if the Amazon founder did not agree to issue a public statement denying his belief that their coverage of his relationship with Sanchez was politically motivated.
“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. “I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out.”