American Media Inc – the parent company of the National Enquirer tabloid – on Friday responded to allegations of blackmail made by Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, saying it acted lawfully and would investigate the claims.
Bezos on Thursday accused National Enquirer of making an “extortionate proposal” to not publish his intimate photos with a woman. The media company allegedly wanted him to falsely state in public that its coverage was not politically motivated. The billionaire also accused the outlet’s publisher, David Pecker, of using the company and the tabloid for political reasons, and said “federal investigators and legitimate media” had proved so.
American Media Inc, in a statement, said National Enquirer acted lawfully in its reporting on Bezos. “Further, at the time of the recent allegations made by Mr Bezos, it was in good faith negotiations to resolve all matters with him,” it added.
Due to the nature of allegations raised by Bezos, the company said its board has determined that the claims should be investigated. “Upon completion of that investigation, the board will take whatever appropriate action is necessary.”
The alleged blackmail attempt was in connection with Bezos’s pictures with former TV host Lauren Sanchez. In January, Bezos and his wife MacKenzie Bezos announced they were getting divorced. Soon after, the tabloid carried reports about text messages hinting at the billionaire’s affair. National Enquirer was allegedly using the blackmail attempt to stop Jeff Bezos from carrying out an investigation into how it had got access to the messages.