Amazon founder Jeff Bezos says National Enquirer publisher tried to extort him
David Goldman, CNN Business
(CNN) — In an explosive tell-all blog post published Thursday afternoon, Jeff Bezos accused the publisher of the National Enquirer of trying to extort him.
Bezos revealed in the post, published on Medium, what he said was the full text of emails his representatives got from executives with AMI, the publisher of the National Enquirer.
Bezos, the billionaire founder and CEO of Amazon, alleged that AMI threatened to release compromising photos of him and published what he said were emails from AMI detailing what he described as “extortion and blackmail.” Bezos, the world’s richest person, is the single largest shareholder in Amazon, with 16% of the company’s stock.
“Something unusual happened to me yesterday. Actually, for me it wasn’t just unusual — it was a first. I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse. Or at least that’s what the top people at the National Enquirer thought. I’m glad they thought that, because it emboldened them to put it all in writing,” Bezos wrote. “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 shared what he said was an email from AMI’s chief content officer Dylan Howard, in which Howard threatened to release intimate and personal photos and text messages of Bezos and a woman the National Enquirer said he was having an affair with.
Some of Bezos’ text messages were made public last month. Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, are getting divorced after 25 years of marriage.
Howard and AMI deputy general counsel Jon Fine did not immediately respond to CNN Business’ requests for comment. Neither did a spokesperson for the Washington Post. An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment other than to confirm that Bezos wrote the post.