On Thursday, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos took the extraordinary step of posting a personal essay alleging that the National Enquirer offered to bury embarrassing personal photos of him — stemming from an extramarital affair — if an investigator working for Bezos would stop referring to the alleged “politically motivated” nature of the leak pictures.
Bezos wrote in the essay that he refused this extortion attempt — and went public with the whole sordid tale instead. (The National Enquirer was first to report that Bezos was involved in an affair with a woman named Lauren Sanchez. Bezos had announced just before the report that he and his wife, Mackenzie, were seeking a divorce.)
Few details have been offered to back up the claim from Bezos’ investigator — a man named Gavin de Becker — that there was a political motivation to the Enquirer’s coverage of the Amazon chief. It’s also not clear why American Media Inc., the parent company of the Enquirer, were so fixated on trying to stop de Becker from labeling their coverage politically motivated.
However, Manuel Roig-Franzia, a reporter for The Washington Post who spoke with de Becker recently, said this on MSNBC Thursday night (bolding is mine):