Last week the tech world was sent into a flat spin when Amazon chief executive officer Jeff Bezos alleged that he was being extorted by National Enquirer publisher, American Media Inc (AMI).
The Amazon head published a blog post which alleged that lawyers representing AMI CEO David Pecker were holding “below the belt selfies” hostage in exchange for the dropping of a story that was being pursued by The Washington Post. As you might be aware, Bezos owns the Post.
In an interview at the weekend, attorney for David Pecker, Elkan Abramowitz appeared on US TV channel ABC to chat about the allegations made last week.
“It is absolutely not extortion and not blackmail. What happened is the story was given to the National Enquirer by a reliable source that had given information to the Enquirer for seven years prior to this story. It was a source that was well known to Mr. Bezos and Ms. Sanchez,” Abramowitz said.
When questioned about the emails that Bezos published on his blog last week, Abramowitz stated that the emails were being taken out of context. The explanation we received is that these emails were sent after Bezos’ steamy texts were published last month. The Enquirer was reportedly trying to stop the Post from alleging political, presidential or Saudi Arabian government involvement in the publication’s affairs.
“It’s absolutely not a crime to ask somebody to simply tell the truth, tell the truth that this was not politically motivated and we will print no more stories about you,” said the AMI attorney.
Woah, hang on a second there Abramowitz. While we agree with you that asking a person to tell the truth isn’t a crime, telling them they should tell the truth or you’ll continue to publish embarrassing stories about them, well that’s the definition of blackmail.
When confronted with this fact the attorney said that this was part of a negotiation.
Bezos has yet to comment on these denials made at the weekend but something tells us he’s not going to take this fight sitting down. As he mentioned last week any embarrassment he might experience is not as important as upholding journalistic integrity.
As of time of writing, no “below the belt selfies” of Bezos have appeared online and we’re really hoping it stays that way.
[Image – CC BY 2.0 Archive: U.S. Secretary of Defense]