Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos published an explosive blog entry on Medium Thursday detailing a blackmail campaign against him. This surprising turn of events comes hot on the heels of Bezos splitting with former wife MacKenzie Bezos.
The Amazon CEO has gone on the offensive in the blackmail case. This has put him in a risky position, but he is standing up for his privacy and his rights.
The blackmail of Bezos is as tawdry and gross as one might imagine. According to Bezos, the National Enquirer threatened to release nude pictures he sent to his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez while he was still married. The emails Bezos released seem to indicate that the National Enquirer’s parent company, AMI, wanted Bezos to publicly state that his issues with them weren’t political.
That part got some attention. AMI has known ties to Donald Trump, which has been widely publicized recently. There is speculation that hush money payouts for a woman who had an affair with Trump went through AMI. Bezos, who owns The Washington Post, which is critical of Trump’s administration, has alleged as such in the past. Could this blackmail have been more personal in nature?
If one of the richest people on the planet can have their private conversations aired in public, what does that mean for the average person? The National Inquirer was responsible for the first reporting of Bezos’ affair with Sanchez, which directly led to the end of his marriage.
Rumor has it that Bezos didn’t have a prenuptial agreement. As such, MacKenzie may end up with half ownership of Amazon. Yeah, the multibillion-dollar company that Jeff owns. She might get half of it. If this blackmail situation really is a personal grudge match between political rivals, the stakes are now for billions of dollars.
What’s more, however, is the role of internet security. Was Bezos right to engage in an affair? Certainly not. But what is more disturbing is that someone with the amount of power Bezos wields could be targeted for blackmail and have his security so thoroughly breached.