If you caught whiplash in your rush to stare at a screen after hearing about billionaire Jeff Bezo’s extortion claim against the National Enquirer, you’re not the only one. The Amazon founder claimed that David Pecker, CEO of American Media (which publishes the gossip rag in question that loves to target Trump foes), threatened to publish his alleged nude photos while attempting to shape Bezos’ public statements regarding President Trump.
Pecker and Trump have been tight for some time, which is certainly why the National Enquirer‘s Ted Cruz mistress fanfiction happened at the height of the Republican primaries. Bezos decided to expose the tabloid’s attempted dealings with him head on, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ronan Farrow soon chimed in to reveal that the Enquirer tried to pull a similar stunt with him.
“I and at least one other prominent journalist involved in breaking stories about the National Enquirer’s arrangement with Trump fielded similar ‘stop digging or we’ll ruin you’ blackmail efforts from AMI,” Farrow tweeted. “(I did not engage as I don’t cut deals with subjects of ongoing reporting.)”
Farrow was the spearheading journalist who shone light (during a New Yorker investigative report) upon the National Enquirer‘s “catch and kill” practice, by which they purchase stories and sit on them, which ensures that they won’t be published elsewhere. Farrow let everyone know that Pecker’s empire had done so with former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal in a story about her alleged affair with Trump.
And Farrow wasn’t done tweeting. He also called more attention to his reporting from last year, both on the “catch and kill” tactics and the fact that Bezos was allegedly threatened by the same editor who helped Harvey Weinstein look for dirt on his accusers.
Meanwhile, the National Enquirer‘s publisher, American Media (run by Pecker), has resolved to investigate Bezo’s claims. The publisher stated that it believed all dealings made with Bezos were “lawful.” Here’s a further statement via CNN:
“[A]t the time of the recent allegations made by Mr. Bezos, it was in good faith negotiations to resolve all matters with him. Nonetheless, in light of the nature of the allegations published by Mr. Bezos, the Board has convened and determined that it should promptly and thoroughly investigate the claims. Upon completion of that investigation, the Board will take whatever appropriate action is necessary.”