The Enquirer Allegedly Threatened to Publish Nude Pics of Jeff Bezos–and Bezos Clapped Back

”If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?”

Jeff Bezos is not here for David Pecker and the National Enquirer trying to shame him over sexy selfies. While many powerful people might do whatever it takes to keep nude photos of themselves out of the media, Bezos is taking a different approach: He self-published a blog post that not only acknowledges the existence of the images, it includes the full text of what he says are his email exchanges with Pecker and co.

The story, according to Bezos’ Medium post, goes something like this: Pecker, considered by many to be an ally of the Trump administration, published a series of text messages exchanged between the Amazon chief and his intimate partner Lauren Sanchez. In response, Bezos hired an investigative team, helmed by Gavin de Becker, to try to track down how the texts wound up with the Enquirer. He had some inkling the motivation to share details of his personal life might be political.

“My ownership of the Washington Post is a complexifier for me,” Bezos writes. “It’s unavoidable that certain powerful people who experience Washington Post news coverage will wrongly conclude I am their enemy. President Trump is one of those people, obvious by his many tweets. Also, The Post’s essential and unrelenting coverage of the murder of its columnist Jamal Khashoggi is undoubtedly unpopular in certain circles.”

Pecker, Bezos recounts, was angry about his private investigators sniffing around, and responded by approaching the Bezos camp with the revelation that, in addition to the published texts, he also had photographs.

The photos were described as follows, according to what Bezos claims is a message from Dylan Howard, at Enquirer parent company AMI, to de Becker’s office.

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.

Bezos doesn’t deny any of the images exist. His attorneys responded that AMI would be unable to publish them on grounds that it would be a copyright violation and have no “newsworthy” value; AMI evidentially disputed the second point.

What AMI wanted, according to Bezos, was an end to the investigation and a public statement that Bezos and de Becker “have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI’s coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces.”

“Be assured, no real journalists ever propose anything like what is happening here: I will not report embarrassing information about you if you do X for me. And if you don’t do X quickly, I will report the embarrassing information,” Bezos writes.

Rather than go along with the typical tabloid game, Bezos seems to be taking a dramatic stand.

“Any personal embarrassment AMI could cause me takes a back seat because there’s a much more important matter involved here,” he writes. “If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can? (On that point, numerous people have contacted our investigation team about their similar experiences with AMI, and how they needed to capitulate because, for example, their livelihoods were at stake.)”

The connections between Bezos, the Post, Pecker–and possibly the White House–may take time to untangle. But in the short term, we can say that, if the blog post turns out to be true, it could be a blow to the power of tabloids.

Naturally, the internet is having fun with this…


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