The chief executive officer of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, on Thursday accused the publisher of National Enquirer of attempting to blackmail by threatening to publish some of his intimate photographs.
The news comes after National Enquirer reported that the billionaire was having a relationship with television personality Lauren Sanchez.
On Thursday, Bezos claimed that National Enquirer's parent company American Media Inc. (AMI) had approached him with a threat to publish the photos if he did not stop the investigation on how the tabloid had accessed his private text messages that revealed his relationship with Lauren.
Bezos said that the publication demanded him to give a false statement that he and his security consultant leading the investigation, Gavin de Becker, should publically state that they had "no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI's coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces. Bezos declined this.
Bezos has published the threatening e-mail on a blogging platform. It was sent to de Becker's lawyer from National Enquirer executives in which Dylan Howard, an editor, appears to suggest that the tabloid would publish a series of private photos of Bezos and Lauren if AMI's conditions aren't met.
The e-mail said, "However, in the interests of expediting this situation, and with The Washington Post poised to publish unsubstantiated rumours of The National Enquirer's initial report, I wanted to describe to you the photos obtained during our newsgathering."
"It would give no editor pleasure to send this email. I hope common sense can prevail — and quickly," it added.
Bezos said that the email has got his attention but not in the way they had hoped for and said that "any personal embarrassment AMI could cause me takes a back seat because there's a much more important matter involved here. If in my position I can't stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?"