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Jeff Bezos Accuses National Enquirer of Attempting to Blackmail Him With Nude Selfies

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has published a lengthy statement claiming that the National Enquirer is attempting to blackmail him. In the post titled “No thank you, Mr. Pecker,” Bezos claims that the publication threatened to reveal several nude and scantily-clad photos of him and Lauren Sanchez, the reporter with whom he was having an affair, unless he stopped his ongoing investigation into the leaker behind the Enquirer’s earlier post last month, which led to Bezos’ divorce.

In the statement, Bezos says that David Pecker, the current chairman of American Media Inc., the nation’s biggest tabloid network and parent company of The National Enquirer, asked him to stop the investigation, claiming that if Bezos refused, Pecker would publish the second collection of photos.

“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,” Bezos writes, in reference to AMI’s well-known “catch and kill” method of buying the exclusive rights to incriminating stories and preventing them from ever being published. “I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out.”

American Media Inc.’s recent “catch and kill” stunts have been well documented. Last year, the New Yorker published a story detailing the process used by Pecker and the National Enquirer to buy the exclusive rights to stories about Donald Trump’s affairs with Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, silencing both women with non-disclosure agreements and killing the stories. The efforts were later brought up in court during the trial of Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen, where more details about Pecker’s “catch and kill” process were revealed.

In addition to stopping his investigation, the emails show that the AMI wanted Bezos to publish a “public, mutually-agreed upon acknowledgement” saying that Bezos has “no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AM’s coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces.”

Rather than cut a deal with AMI, Bezos is going public, partly due to the fact he believes the group will keep the photos on hand and publish them in the future in the event that he act against their agreement. “Any personal embarrassment AMI could cause me takes a back seat because there’s a much more important matter involved here,” he said. “If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?”

Read the statement in full on Medium.