Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder and chief executive, published an explosive blog post Thursday evening accusing the National Enquirer of blackmail and extortion.
In that post was one line that stood out.
Bezos wrote that “numerous people” have contacted his investigative team about “similar experiences” with the National Enquirer and its parent company, American Media Inc.
Who are those people? And, more importantly, what other “similar experiences” were they referring to?
A person familiar with the National Enquirer’s operation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told CNN Business that there were indeed similar situations between the National Enquirer and other individuals.
In the blog post published on Medium, Bezos alleged that AMI threatened to release more compromising photos of him if he didn’t stop his probe into how the National Enquirer obtained private text messages between him and his girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez. To back up his claim, Bezos published what he said were the full text of emails his representatives received from executives at AMI.
American Media said in a statement on Friday morning that the company “believes fervently that it acted lawfully in the reporting of the story of Mr. 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,” the company said. “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.”
The person who spoke anonymously to CNN Business said that other shoes are likely to drop.
“It will all come out now,” the person predicted.
Indeed, the dominoes may be starting to fall.
Ronan Farrow, the New Yorker’s Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who has reported on the National Enquirer, said in a tweet Thursday night that AMI attempted to blackmail 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.
Farrow said that he “did not engage” because he does not “cut deals with subjects of ongoing reporting.” CNN Business has reached out to AMI for comment regarding Farrow’s claim.
Farrow isn’t the only one who has spoken out.
In June 2017, MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski accused President Donald Trump of threatening them with a hit piece in the National Enquirer in order to gain more favorable coverage on him on their show “Morning Joe.”
Trump denied the allegation from Scarborough and Brzezinski at the time, calling it “FAKE NEWS.”
Dylan Howard, the chief content officer for the Enquirer’s parent company American Media, said at the time that “we have no knowledge of any discussions between the White House and Joe and Mika about our story, and absolutely no involvement in those discussions.” Howard also said that AMI did not level any threats against “either Joe or Mika or their children in connection with our reporting on the story.”