Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Jeff Bezos Reveals A.M.I., Owners of the National Enquirer, Tried to Extort Him

Jezz Bezos writing on Medium:

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. 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.

[…]

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 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.”

If we do not agree to affirmatively publicize that specific lie, they say they’ll publish the photos, and quickly. And there’s an associated threat: They’ll keep the photos on hand and publish them in the future if we ever deviate from that lie.

I am not a big Jeff Bezos or Amazon fan — though I am a Washington Post subscriber — but this is such a great move. I can’t imagine a worse person to blackmail than someone who has the power and means to dig dirt forever, especially by a shady tabloid with potentially deep political ties that they would rather not be exposed. By the way, Bezos apparently published this without giving his lawyers a heads-up.

Luppe B. Luppen, who goes by “southpaw” on Twitter, pointed out that A.M.I. agreed last year (PDF) to, among other conditions, not commit any crimes in order to avoid prosecution, as a reward for their cooperation in connection with keeping quiet a story about Donald Trump’s affair with a model to influence the election.

Anyway, A.M.I. is a terrible company and I hope, by overplaying their hand, they get buried.