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Jeff Bezos doesn’t back down in the face of alleged blackmail

Thierry Ehrmann

Billionaire Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos did something unexpected overnight, taking to Medium to publish an (exquisitely written) open letter, claiming National Enquirer publisher American Media Inc (AMI) is trying to blackmail him.

How? By threatening to leak intimate pictures of the billionaire.

(This is so much more than d-ck pics, too, which is why I’m not messing about with jokes. Read on:)

  • In the post titled “No thank you, Mr. Pecker,” Bezos publishes what he says are extortion emails.
  • The emails from AMI appear to threaten Bezos with the publication of intimate photos of himself, along with his texting partner, Lauren Sanchez, a news anchor who has been linked to Bezos as part of an affair.
  • AMI is seeking to halt investigations by Bezos’ legal team, led by Gavin de Becker (Wikipedia profile), and force Bezos to issue a public statement to say, more or less, that he had nothing on AMI or its involvement with Saudi Arabia, as Bezos alleges.

In response, came the emphatic and very serious clapback from Bezos on his post.

  • Bezos published what he says are the real emails, with the blackmail demands from AMI made in writing, which beggars belief.
  • The demands, if true, are incredible, let alone made in writing.
  • The insinuation of AMI’s political-motive and alignment with President Donald Trump, and Saudis, which has long been reported (Bloomberg, CNN) make it much more than just a story about some nudes doing the rounds in tabloids.
  • Bezos, an intensely recognizable person in the age of social media, isn’t afraid to fight despite the obvious embarrassment that is apparently at risk.
  • And more so, Bezos’ support for real journalism in his letter and his support of the Washington Post, his cavalier attitude to defending both himself and attempting to take down the seemingly malicious AMI, are the big elements.
  • AMI agreed to not do anything illegal for three years, late last year. Bloomberg suggests that’s now in jeopardy.

Here’s some of the quotes:

  • 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 wrote.
  • Any personal embarrassment AMI could cause me takes a back seat because there’s a much more important matter involved here. If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?
  • “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.”

Overall:

  • You don’t have to be a fan of Bezos or Amazon, or their practices, to sit back and applaud this stance.
  • It takes pretty serious guts to deal with such things that should be private.
  • Bezos essentially gave his retained lawyer, Gavin de Becker, a blank check to investigate, too, which needless to say, isn’t possible for most people.
  • And hey, there’s no point in being the richest person in the world – especially a self-made billionaire – if you can’t shut down those that threaten to extort you, for revealing their own corruption that is emerging from your own investigation.
  • As Bezos says himself, and I paraphrase, no real journalists ever propose anything like: I will not report embarrassing information about you if you do something for me, and you do it fast.
  • Also, Bezos used Medium and Twitter to get ahead, and the letter is well worth your time. It’s so well-written.

Here’s everything else happening:

1. Samsung Galaxy S10e revealed in Canary Yellow: Packing side fingerprint scanner too? (Android Authority)


2. Another Galaxy S10 photo leak shows also shows new Samsung wireless Galaxy Buds (AA).


3. Google Fiber exits Louisville, because it couldn’t run fiber in two-inch deep “nano-trenches” (AA). Quite the tale.


4. Is Google finally taking wearables seriously? A fresh job ad suggests so (AA).


5. Following up on yesterday’s news, now Apple has swiftly told app developers to disclose or remove secret screen recordings, or face ‘action’ (TechCrunch).


6. Apple has now released a fix for the group FaceTime bug in iOS (MacRumors).


7. Spotify bans ad blockers in updated Terms of Service (The Verge). Crackdown starts March 1.


8. Sprint sues AT&T over its fake 5G branding (Engadget). I wish I could join in a class-action.


9. New pill can deliver insulin (MIT).


10. The strange, never-ending saga of MoviePass (The Ringer).


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