Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is firing back at the parent company of the National Enquirer. The richest man in the world wrote a blog post on Medium accusing American media of extortion and blackmail after the tabloid reportedly threatened to publish racy photos of him and his girlfriend, former FOX 11 news anchor Lauren Sanchez.
The National Enquirer published a story last month that included intimate texts between Bezos and Sanchez. Since then, private investigators have been looking into how the tabloid got the texts.
Celebrity and entertainment lawyer Jeffrey Lenkov sees Bezos blog post as a good public relations move.
"Jeff Bezos probably to protect Ms. Sanchez and himself doesn't want those disseminated or released but if they're going to be released he wants to shape public opinion or the narrative before the national enquirer does it," Lenkov said.
In the post, titled 'No thank you, Mr. Pecker,' aimed at the owner of the National Enquirer David Pecker, Bezos shared a letter written by America Media Inc.'s Chief Content Officer to a lawyer working for Bezos' team. The letter detailed some of the salacious material the company reportedly has on Benzos including:
"· A full-length body selfie of Mr. Bezos wearing just a pair of tight black boxer-briefs or trunks, with his phone in his left hand -- while wearing his wedding ring.
· A naked selfie in a bathroom -- while wearing his wedding ring. Mr. Bezos is wearing nothing but a white towel…
· Ms. Sanchez wearing a two-piece red bikini with gold detail dress revealing her cleavage."
Bezos claims the tabloid asked him to call off his investigator who was looking into how the Enquirer obtained the material that was published last month. Bezos, who owns the Washington Post, also accused the company of attacking him for political reasons.
"Is it a motivation because Packer and AMI are really looking to sell magazines or is some attention to quashing or changing the way the Washington post reports or the way Bezos has criticized Either Donald Trump or used the Washington Post," said Lenkov.
Bezos also claims American Media offered him a deal, saying that they wouldn't publish the photos and texts if he publicly stated that he believes the National Enquirer's coverage of him was not politically motivated. Lenkov says Bezos may have a case for extortion.
"If they're using these photos to affect his business or personal reputation then he could have some legal recourse against them for that," Lenkov added.
In a statement Friday morning, AMI claims that the tabloid acted lawfully in obtaining personal texts attributed to Bezos.
AMI's full statement reads:
"American Media believes fervently that it acted lawfully in the reporting of the story of Mr. Bezos. Further, at the time of the recent allegations made by Mr. Bezos, it was in good faith negotiations to resolve all matters with him. Nonetheless, in light of the nature of the allegations published by Mr. Bezos, the Board has convened and determined that it should promptly and thoroughly investigate the claims. Upon completion of that investigation, the Board will take whatever appropriate action is necessary."
Lenkov says he believes the racy photos and texts will eventually make their way into the public arena.