Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world. But that doesn’t mean he’s any different from you and me, the average Joes. Jeff Bezos might command a sprawling retail empire and make more money in a day than you’ll ever see in your life, but he still sends nudes. The man revealed this himself on Thursday while shining a spotlight on a tabloid publisher’s alleged attempts of “extortion and blackmail.”
In a Medium post (of course) entitled, “No thank you, Mr. Pecker” (cool title), Bezos published correspondence between his camp and American Media Inc., the tabloid publisher best known for the National Enquirer. Mr. Pecker, first name David, is the head of AMI, which is currently also under investigation for “catch and kill” schemes to bury stories about President Donald Trump’s extramarital affairs.
Bezos has hired investigators to determine how the National Enquirer received text messages between himself and Lauren Sanchez, the woman he had an affair with. As he writes:
Several days ago, an AMI leader advised us that Mr. Pecker is “apoplectic” about our investigation. For reasons still to be better understood, the Saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive nerve.
A few days after hearing about Mr. Pecker’s apoplexy, we were approached, verbally at first, with an offer. They said they had more of my text messages and photos that they would publish if we didn’t stop our investigation.
Bezos claims that AMI does not have the right to publish copyrighted photos that he does not think are newsworthy, but AMI is apparently holding those damaging images over Bezos’s head like the sword of Damocles. To get out ahead of the story, Jeff Bezos published communications between his investigation team and Dylan Howard, AMI’s chief content officer. In the email, Howard lists the various photos in the National Enquirer’s possession. The cache apparently includes:
- a “below the belt selfie — otherwise colloquially known as a ‘d*ck pick’”
- “A shirtless Mr. Bezos holding his phone in his left hand — while wearing his wedding ring. He’s wearing either tight black cargo pants or shorts — and his semi-erect manhood is penetrating the zipper of said garment.”
- “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 — and the top of his pubic region can be seen.”
… as well as other photos of Sanchez and a selfie of Bezos at (gasp!) “what appears to be a business meeting.”
In the AMI letters I’m making public, you will see the precise details of their extortionate proposal: They will publish the personal photos unless Gavin de Becker [Bezos’s lead investigator] and I make the specific false public statement to the press that we “have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI’s coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces.”
Should Bezos ever renege on the proposed agreement, AMI would then publish the photos.
Bezos is navigating a complicated web of relationships here. Not only is he the founder of Amazon, a $177 billion economic juggernaut, but he’s also the owner of the Washington Post. Trump has made a special enemy of the Post. In a tweet from last month, he went out of his way to crow over Bezos’s divorce, celebrate the National Enquirer reporting which led to it, and hope for the future sale of the Post.
Aside from its arrangement with Trump, AMI also has a business arrangement with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which murdered Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi last year.
“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 concluded. “I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out.”