A story about the richest man in the world exposing what appears to be a blackmail scheme by a notorious tabloid — one involving below-the-belt photos — would have a great deal of juicy headline potential, even if the owner of the tabloid didn’t have the last name Pecker.
But he does indeed have that name, which led to an instantly legendary headline: “Bezos Exposes Pecker.” Not only is the headline funny on multiple levels, but it was used by multiple news outlets. The Huffington Post had it first, on Thursday, with the New York Post running the same headline on Friday’s front page, per Twitter.
The Huffington Post used “Bezos Exposes Pecker” as a website front page headline, while the New York Post ran it awhile later. It’s common for the New York Post and New York Daily News to use the same front page headline on the same day, but the website clearly beat the New York Post to the wording in this case.
It all started Thursday night when Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder who also owns the Washington Post, published a blog post on the platform Medium in which he revealed that American Media, the publisher of the National Enquirer, had attempted to blackmail him. The CEO of the company’s name is David Pecker, and the Enquirer had broken the story of Bezos’ affair with Lauren Sanchez — a story which coincided with the news that Bezos is divorcing his wife, Mackenzie.
Bezos revealed that he had received communications from American Media threatening to expose “text messages and photos” belonging to Bezos — if he didn’t back off of his investigation into how the Enquirer obtained photos of him with Sanchez.
By Bezos’ account, American Media’s chief content officer Dylan Howard, the day before Bezos’ blog post was published, sent an email containing a list of ten specific photographs that the company was threatening to release — including “a below the belt selfie ,” otherwise colloquially known as a “d*ck pic” — unless Bezos backed off of the investigation.
Instead of bowing to pressure, Bezos went public with the story, including publishing the email.
The story touches on several stories currently in the news, from Bezos’ ongoing divorce from his wife, to last year’s presumed killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi — the latter suspected to have been conducted by the Saudi government.
American Media, as Bezos noted in the blog post, has entered an immunity agreement with federal prosecutors in connection with its alleged payments to potential sources on behalf of President Trump, one which may now be in jeopardy. And American Media has also been in business with the Saudi government, the New York Post reported last year.