Jerry George, the former LA bureau chief of The National Enquirer, told CNN on Thursday night that the feud between Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and American Media Inc. (AMI), the publishing arm of the tabloid was “baffling.”
The tabloid, which previously published an exposé into an affair between Bezos and TV anchor Lauren Sanchez, claimed it possessed sexually explicit photos of Bezos. The Amazon CEO subsequently launched an investigation headed by his security chief, Gavin de Becker, into the origin of AMI’s exposé.
On Thursday, Bezos published a blog post detailing what he alleged to be an “extortion and blackmail” plot by AMI. Using emails as evidence, Bezos revealed AMI’s plan to extort him by threatening the Amazon founder with compromising personal photos unless they quashed the investigation.
“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 said on his blog post.
George said that in light of the fight between the world’s richest man and AMI, he believed the media company may have taken things too far and acted prematurely.
“I think they thought they were smarter than they are, and I think now the reality is hitting them and they’re freaking out.”
George added that AMI’s threats were “nothing short of extortion” and that it “looks like a crime.”
The Amazon CEO also appeared to hint in his blog post that powerful forces motivated by politics may have been at play. National Enquirer owner David Pecker, a known longtime associate of President Donald Trump, has been accused of purchasing the rights to numerous Trump-related scandals in order to bury the story.
Trump regularly rails against Bezos, the owner of The Washington Post, for its reporting on his presidency. George noted that there may have been a correlation between Trump, AMI, and Bezos.
“For years, Donald Trump has had a hard-on for Bezos,” George said. “Professional jealousy, the acquisition of Amazon … so it’s no surprise that he turned to his good buddy, David Pecker … to do a hatchet job on him.”
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