(NEW YORK) — The parent company of the National Enquirer said Friday it will “promptly and thoroughly” investigate claims against the tabloid, made by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, of a blackmail and extortion plot against him involving compromising photographs.
Bezos described the claims in a post on Medium Thursday.
In January, the billionaire CEO and his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie Bezos, announced that they were divorcing. In a statement released on Twitter, they said the decision comes “after a long period of loving exploration and trial separation.”
The National Enquirer later broke a story that alleged Bezos was having an affair. Bezos questioned whether the report was politically motivated and launched an investigation into the matter.
In a post titled “No thank you, Mr. Pecker” — addressing David Pecker, who is the chairman and CEO of American Media Inc., the owner of the National Enquirer — Bezos said that he was approached with an offer from AMI, saying that “they had more of my text messages and photos that they would publish if we didn’t stop our investigation.”
Bezos alleges the National Enquirer was attempting to blackmail and extort him using “intimate” photos.
Bezos, in the Medium posting, said that the Enquirer offered not to publish the photos in exchange for a public statement from Bezos that the Enquirer’s reporting was not politically motivated.
“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. I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out,” Bezos said in his post on Thursday.
AMI responded Friday that it stood behind the reporting in the story of Bezos’ affair but would investigate the claims.
“American Media believes fervently that it acted lawfully in the reporting of the story of Mr. Bezos,” the company said in a statement. “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.”
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