Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos, identified in a report published Thursday by The New York Times as “the richest man on earth,” is accusing the National Enquirer of “extortion and blackmail,” The Times reports.
Bezos lays out his allegations against the tabloid and its publisher, American Media Inc., in a lengthy post on the online platform Medium.com. The Times reports that Bezos’ post sets out a theory that brings together “international intrigue, White House politics, nude photos and amorous text messages.”
The Times reports that Bezos’ allegations follow an expose published last month by the Enquirer focusing on Bezos’ extramarital affair with Lauren Sanchez, a former host of the Fox show “So You Think You Can Dance.”
“The headline of Mr. Bezos’ post — ‘No thank you, Mr. Pecker’ — targeted David J. Pecker, the head of the tabloid company,” The Times reports. “In the sometimes digressive text that followed, he accused American Media of threatening to publish graphic photographs of Mr. Bezos, including a ‘below-the-belt selfie,’ if he did not publicly affirm that The Enquirer’s reporting on his affair was not motivated by political concerns.”
The Times report adds: “The inciting event in this battle of American titans was the Jan. 28 edition of The Enquirer, which hit supermarket racks on Jan. 10, one day after Mr. Bezos and his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie, announced that they would be getting a divorce. The tabloid devoted 11 pages to the story of Mr. Bezos’ affair with Ms. Sanchez, calling it ‘the biggest investigation in Enquirer history!’”
The report also notes: “Tech executives are not the usual subjects of Enquirer covers, and the story set off speculation in Washington and New York media circles that the tabloid’s aggressive coverage of Mr. Bezos was tied to the closeness of Mr. Pecker, The Enquirer’s chief, and the White House. That alliance came fully to light last year in the legal drama involving hush payments to women alleging affairs with Mr. Trump.”
To read Bezos’ full post on Medium.com, click here.
Below is a CNN report posted Thursday with additional background on the story.