The Untold Story of How Jeff Bezos Beat the Tabloids

As the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos has become one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time. But in early 2019, Bezos found himself at the center of a media storm that threatened to derail his career and reputation.

The National Enquirer, a tabloid known for its sensationalist headlines and celebrity gossip, had obtained private text messages between Bezos and his mistress. The Enquirer threatened to publish the messages unless Bezos publicly declared that the tabloid’s coverage of him was not politically motivated.

But Bezos wasn’t about to be bullied by the tabloids. Instead, he took matters into his own hands and revealed the true motivations behind the Enquirer’s actions. Here’s the untold story of how Jeff Bezos beat the tabloids:

The Blackmail Attempt

In January 2019, the National Enquirer published an expos├⌐ of Bezos’s extramarital affair with Lauren Sanchez. The Enquirer claimed to have obtained private text messages and photos between the two, and the story caused a media frenzy.

But the Enquirer wasn’t content with just publishing the story. The tabloid’s owner, American Media Inc. (AMI), attempted to use the story as leverage against Bezos.

AMI’s CEO, David Pecker, was a friend of President Trump’s and had a history of using the Enquirer to protect Trump’s interests. Pecker had also been granted immunity by federal prosecutors in exchange for his cooperation in the investigation into Trump’s hush money payments to women.

Also read  How to Reset MacBook Pro to Factory Settings Without Password

Pecker allegedly told Bezos’s lawyers that if Bezos didn’t publicly state that the Enquirer’s coverage of him was not politically motivated, the tabloid would publish more embarrassing photos and texts. In effect, Pecker was attempting to blackmail Bezos.

Bezos Strikes Back

Bezos didn’t take kindly to the blackmail attempt. Instead of bowing to the Enquirer’s demands, he launched an investigation into how the tabloid had obtained his private messages.

Bezos and his team soon discovered that the Enquirer had paid $200,000 to Sanchez’s brother for the texts and photos. This payment violated AMI’s agreement with federal prosecutors, which required the company to stay out of trouble for three years.

Bezos also discovered that the Enquirer had a practice of “catch-and-kill” ΓÇô buying the rights to embarrassing stories and then burying them to protect powerful people. The tabloid had reportedly used this tactic to protect Trump during the 2016 election.

The Public Response

Bezos decided to take his findings public. In a Medium post titled “No thank you, Mr. Pecker,” Bezos revealed the Enquirer’s attempted blackmail and its history of catch-and-kill.

The post was a PR triumph for Bezos. It positioned him as a victim of a powerful media conglomerate and a defender of the free press. The post was widely covered by the media, and Bezos was praised for his courage in standing up to the tabloids.

Also read  How Long Can a Landlord Leave You Without Air Conditioning?

The post also had legal consequences. Federal prosecutors began investigating whether AMI had violated its immunity agreement by attempting to blackmail Bezos. In April 2019, AMI agreed to cooperate with the investigation and admitted to making the payment to Sanchez’s brother.

The Aftermath

Bezos emerged from the scandal relatively unscathed. His divorce from his wife MacKenzie was finalized in April 2019, with Bezos retaining control of 75% of their Amazon shares.

The scandal also had some unexpected consequences. Bezos’s Medium post revealed that he had been targeted by Saudi Arabian hackers who had gained access to his private messages. This led to increased scrutiny of Saudi Arabia’s role in the