Oh my god pic.twitter.com/wxTjsI6mz3
— Andrew Feinberg (@AndrewFeinberg) February 8, 2019
How’s that for a headline?
Courtesy of HuffPo:
David Pecker, the chief executive of American Media Inc., which publishes the tabloid National Enquirer, threatened to publish embarrassing photos of Jeff Bezos if he didn’t stop investigating Pecker’s company, according to the Amazon CEO.
Bezos revealed the alleged threat, which was sent through AMI chief content officer Dylan Howard, in a blog post published to Medium on Thursday. In it, Bezos also claimed that an “AMI leader” told him that Pecker was “apoplectic” over an investigation the Amazon founder had launched into Pecker’s companies.
“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, who also owns the Washington Post, wrote.
In the alleged letter to Bezos, Howard said its paper had obtained a “dick pic” of Bezos, as well as text messages and nine other images of Bezos and his mistress Lauren Sanchez. Bezos also published multiple emails, allegedly from AMI representatives, asking the Amazon CEO to release a public statement asserting that AMI’s reporting is not politically motivated.
“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,” he continued. “I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out.”
And that is exactly what Bezos did by publishing his own account of the blackmail attempt on Medium (Here is the link) which claims to include the actual emails sent to Bezos’ litigation lawyer and the threats contained within.
A number of other media outlets have already written about this story or reporter in on the air, but the Daily Beast also included the fact that they too had been threatened by AMI over their reporting on this story.
Courtesy of The Daily Beast:
In the process of reporting those stories, The Daily Beast and a member of its staff were threatened by AMI’s attorneys. After Bezos’ post late Thursday, journalist Ronan Farrow also wrote in a tweet that he and another “prominent journalist involved in breaking stories about the National Enquirer’s arrangement with Trump” had dealt with “blackmail” efforts from AMI.
Fine, in his email to Bezos’ attorney, demanded a “public, mutually-agreed upon acknowledgment from the Bezos Parties, released through a mutually-agreeable news outlet, affirming that they have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AM’s coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces, and an agreement that they will cease referring to such a possibility.
In exchange, Fine wrote, AMI would agree “not to publish, distribute, share, or describe unpublished texts and photos,” which Howard said included a number of sexually suggestive images of Bezos and his lover, Los Angeles news anchor Lauren Sanchez. Among them was a “below the belt selfie — otherwise colloquially known as a ‘d*ck pick [sic].’”
Now if all of this is not mindnumbing enough, there is an added bit of intrigue which was provided by a Washington Post reporter on last night’s “The Last Word.”
Washington Posts @RoigFranzia says Bezos’ team thinks it’s possible that the text leaks were politically motivated and that a “government entity” accessed the Bezos texts and hoo boy that’s certainly something pic.twitter.com/MQuzNFbCed
— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) February 8, 2019
The underlying charge there is that the Trump Administration may have played a hand in helping AMI obtain these pictures and therefore cooperated in this blackmail attempt.
Oh, and before I forget, it should also be noted that David Pecker has an ongoing plea deal with federal prosecutors and was given immunity for his cooperation.
One has to wonder how a story like this might impact that deal?