Full Frontal Assault
To paraphrase Lucius Fox (as played by Morgan Freeman) in The Dark Knight:
Let me get this straight, you think just because you have a dick pick, one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the world, who can hire anyone in the world to investigate, humiliate and probably kill you, is going to capitulate to blackmail and extortion? Good luck.
Seriously, this story about Jeff Bezos, the National Enquirer, “below the belt selfies,” divorce, Trump, the Saudis, and the Mueller investigation is bonkers. It started simply enough with a Medium post by Jeff Bezos entitled, “No thank you, Mr. Pecker.” It was a very good day for Twitter and Medium as Bezos promoted the post via Twitter and I’m sure both platforms received a jolt they weren’t expecting. In the post, Bezos lays out the blackmail and extortion with details and, in a lot of places, actual emails and written communication.
There have been a lot of hot takes on the story. Sophie Weiner at Splinter, Casey Newton, Russel Brandom/Adi Robertson at The Verge, Brian Feldman at New York Magazine, Jenni Avins at Quartz, and Alana Semuels at The Atlantic.
My favorite breakdown came from Judd Legum in his Popular Information newsletter. In it, he explains with a certain journalistic flair all the particulars of the scandal. Although, I have to admit the lede on John Cassidy’s New Yorker story is the best:
Memo to the honchos at the National Enquirer: if you are going to threaten one of the richest men in the world by saying that you have sexually explicit selfies of him and his girlfriend, don’t have your lawyer and top editor put the threats in writing. The rich guy might decide he can ride out a stolen dick pic or two, especially if he’s already announced that he’s getting divorced.
If I were a betting man (and I’m not a betting man), Mr. Pecker is headed to jail.