The National Enquirer attempted to blackmail Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and instead of caving to their demands, he outed them instead. Now, the tabloid’s former Los Angeles bureau chief, Jerry George, believes the publication is “freaking out” as the reality of its situation hits.
According to a report from Business Insider, George is baffled by the feud Bezos and the tabloid’s publisher American Media Inc. (AMI). On Thursday, Bezos took to Medium with a blog post that exposed the entire attempt by David Pecker and the National Enquirer to get Bezos to stop his investigation into the publication, which he started after they published the details of his affair with TV anchor Lauren Sanchez recently. Bezos tapped his head of security, Gavin de Becker, to investigate the publisher and how they acquired such personal text messages and details about him.
“I think they thought they were smarter than they are, and I think now the reality is hitting them and they’re freaking out,” said George.
AMI allegedly attempted to extort the world’s richest man, and he’s exposed them instead of acquiescing to their demands that he stop his investigation, which appears to show that the tabloid publishes or quashes politically motivated stories. There seems to be evidence that Pecker, a long-time friend of President Donald Trump, has purchased the rights to stories that could embarrass or cause scandals for the president and keeps them from publication. The practice is known as “catch and kill.”
Jeff Bezos’s blackmail allegations could upend the non-prosecution agreement National Enquirer's publisher struck last year with federal prosecutors https://t.co/lNnknEtRBq— Bloomberg (@business) February 8, 2019
To George and many others, AMI appears to have committed a crime. Plus, Trump regularly lashes out against Bezos and the Washington Post, which the Amazon boss also owns. This suggests that AMI’s actions are politically motivated, much like several other stories the tabloid publishes.
AMI allegedly demanded that Bezos say that his investigation into them found no evidence that the company publishes politically motivated stories. In exchange, they would not release a series of embarrassing pictures of Bezos. He declined their offer, and instead exposed the whole attempt in his blog.
“Any personal embarrassment AMI could cause me takes a back seat because there’s a much more important matter involved here. If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?”
The Amazon CEO went on to detail the types of practices the Enquirer is known for using and told the world why he would not bow under their pressure.
“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. I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out.”
Additionally, Bezos seems to believe that the publisher targeting him with the tabloid expose happened, in part, because of the Post‘s coverage of the murder of one of its reporters, journalist Jamal Khashoggi.