Jeff Bezos accuses National Enquirer publisher of 'extortion'

Amazon CEO and The Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos on Thursday accused the company that publishes the National Enquirer of blackmailing him over a series of revealing photos the tabloid allegedly obtained.

"Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I’ve decided to publish exactly what [American Media Inc. (AMI)] sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten," Bezos wrote in a lengthy Medium post.

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Bezos said AMI, which owns the National Enquirer and other publications, had obtained revealing text messages and photos tied to him, including what was referred to in an email exchange as a "d*ck pick."

The exchange came not long after the Enquirer had published text messages shared between Bezos and the woman with whom he was having an affair, which led Bezos to commission an investigation into how the tabloid acquired them.

According to Bezos, news of the investigation infuriated AMI chief David Pecker, whose close ties to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump calls Sri Lankan prime minister following church bombings Ex-Trump lawyer: Mueller knew Trump had to call investigation a 'witch hunt' for 'political reasons' The biggest challenge from the Mueller Report depends on the vigilance of everyone MORE have led to scrutiny over his role in the payments between Trump's team and multiple women who say they had affairs with Trump. Bezos also suggested in his blog post that The Washington Post's coverage of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has upset Pecker, who has reportedly sought to do business with Riyadh. 

Bezos said he and his lawyer "were approached, verbally at first, with an offer. [AMI] said they had more of my text messages and photos that they would publish if we didn’t stop our investigation."

Bezos included in his Medium post multiple emails allegedly sent by AMI representatives with descriptions of the photos they had obtained, including a "below the belt selfie  —  otherwise colloquially known as a ‘d*ck pick.'"

According to the emails Bezos shares, the AMI representatives say they will not publish the photos if Bezos agrees to publicly state that the Enquirer's previous reporting on him wasn't politically motivated. 

Bezos, a frequent target of Trump, said he refused. 

"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 wrote in the Medium post. "I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out."