Amazon's Bezos accuses tabloid of blackmail with 'intimate photos'
Amazon chief Jeff Bezos revealed on Thursday that he was blackmailed by the publishing company behind the National Enquirer, a US tabloid, which threatened to publish "intimate photos" after Bezos launched an investigation into its coverage.
The billionaire and his wife announced last month that they were divorcing after 25 years of marriage. That same day, the National Enquirer touted that it would publish alleged intimate text messages between Bezos and former news anchor Lauren Sanchez, whom he was said to be dating.
Bezos opened an investigation into the leak led by Gavin de Becker, a public safety expert, who told media there were "political motives" behind the move. The owner of The Washington Post, Bezos is a consistent subject of criticism by US President Donald Trump.
On Thursday, Bezos said in a post on blogging platform Medium that Enquirer publisher American Media Inc (AMI) approached him with a threat to publish intimate photographs he sent to Sanchez if he did not halt the investigation.
AMI also demanded that he and de Becker publically state they had "no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI's coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces," Bezos said.
"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 in the post, which included copies of emails from AMI.
"Be assured, no real journalists ever propose anything like what is happening here," he added.
AMI did not immediately return a request for comment.