I'd wager relatively few individuals thought they'd wake up today to see the Internet abuzz on the topic of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' penis. At yet, here we are. So what's the deal with Jeff Bezos' pecker and the National Enquirer's Pecker? Let's find out.
The Amazon CEO rocked Silicon Valley Thursday afternoon by dropping a bombshell blog post on Medium, detailing what he claims is an extortion and blackmail attempt on him on behalf of the well-known tabloid rag National Enquirer.
Apparently, National Enquirer has obtained semi-nude and nude pictures of Bezos as well as racy photos of Lauren Sanchez, the reporter with whom Bezos was having an affair. The tabloid is threatening to release these photos unless Bezos makes a public statement that National Enquirer parent company American Media Inc.'s investigation into his personal life was never "politically motivated or influenced by political forces." Well, that escalated quickly.
A political Pecker
So, what makes the Amazon CEO's tool a political weapon? It's a complicated web involving the sex lives of both Jeff Bezos and President Donald Trump, Saudi Arabia, murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the rather aptly named David Pecker, CEO of AMI.
Bezos is going through a divorce, and recently the National Enquirer published some texts that he had sent to Lauren Sanchez. Bezos launched his own investigation into how the Enquirer obtained these texts in the first place, which allegedly uncovered signs of a political motivation behind the whole thing.
You see, Bezos owns the Washington Post, and both himself and that publication regularly get slammed by President Donald Trump. Jamal Khashoggi was a columnist for the Washington Post, and the Post continues to investigate the circumstances of his murder and connection to the Saudi authorities. Now, let's look at the other side.
AMI CEO and National Enquirer owner David Pecker and is a close friend and ally of Trump, and reportedly has business interests in Saudi Arabia. AMI is embroiled in a legal controversy involving the use of "catch and kill" tactics, where a publication buys the exclusive rights to incriminating information about someone with the purpose of suppressing a story, with regard to President Donald Trump's alleged affairs with a woman prior to his presidential campaign.
Connect the dots and it's easy to see the tension ramping up at the intersection of big tech, journalism, sexual mores and politics, all rather worryingly tied to a single rich and powerful individual in the form of Bezos and his Amazon Prime member. But for all that, and for all the flak that Bezos deservedly gets gotten thanks to the unethical labor practices of Amazon, his enemies looking to shame him have somehow made him look more sympathetic than ever.
Who's afraid of nudes in 2019?
In the modern digital age, where we enjoy swift exchange of information along with questionable security and privacy, many of us have probably taken and sent racy pictures, and with that, the possibility of revenge porn or blackmail by bad actors is always a threat. And if that threat is ever going to go away, we're just going to have to own our naughtiness and stand up to these threats - just like how Bezos is doing here.
The Amazon CEO now looks more human than he ever has, all because they chose to attack him with something that many of us find relatable. While Bezos' stance on the alleged blackmail may garner the sympathy of many ordinary people, his calling out of "political motivations" could well heat up tensions between Bezos, Amazon and the Trump administration to a degree that could have all kinds of knock-on effects impossible to predict right now.
If you thought 2018 was a hot mess of politics, technology and information warfare, then strap in, it's only February.
What do you think of the whole affair? Should something be done to break up the consolidation of business, journalism, tech and politics?