The National Enquirer business model is blackmail

The failed attempt by the tabloid to blackmail Jeff Bezos has put a bright light on the way that they do business. It was a fairly open secret that they would threaten to report dirt on celebrities unless the celebrities gave them exclusive access for other stories but now the details of such stories are coming out, with former employees of the parent company AMI, including those who did the investigations for them, willing to speak out.

This article lists the many cases of celebrities blackmailed and then says that others are also targeted.

AMI’s strong-arm tactics aren’t limited to celebrities and public figures; it sics high-paid lawyers on journalists who try to shine a light on its practices.

Ronan Farrow tweeted Thursday night that he and another prominent journalist who was reporting on AMI’s cozy relationship with Trump last year “fielded similar ‘stop digging or we’ll ruin you’ blackmail efforts from AMI.”

And while The Beast was in the middle of reporting on a Bezos-funded investigation into how his texts wound up in the Enquirer’s hands, AMI threatened Daily Beast reporter Lachlan Cartwright—an AMI veteran—with a $5 million lawsuit, and accused The Beast of so-called “tortious interference”—messing with an AMI contract.

More often than not, the tactic worked. Barresi could only recall a couple of celebrities who didn’t cave when presented with the damaging material that he and Pellicano had fed to the tabloid press.

Hanks said in the old days, most big names wouldn’t dream of trying to fight the Enquirer, but times appear to be changing.

“It used to be that a celebrity or any kind of famous businessman like Bezos would cringe at the thought of something ending up in the Enquirer,” he said. “But as time goes on by, they realize that people are more angry at the Enquirer than they are at them, for exposing someone’s dirty laundry. And I think Jeff Bezos is just the kind of guy who said, ‘I’ve had it. I’m not going to let myself be a victim’…and decided to fight back.”

Let’s hope this encourages more people to fight back against the tabloid.


  1. says

    It’s sad that it took them messing with an oligarch, for the justice system to even make vague huffing and muttering noises about AMI’s practices.

  2. Reginald Selkirk says

    Jean #1: What’s interesting is that this attempted blackmail may have put AMI and Pecker in breach of the non-prosecution agreement in the Cohen case

    Only if it’s actually illegal. And if their actions are actually illegal, why are Bezos, Farrow, etc. talking to the media instead of to prosecutors?

  3. jrkrideau says

    why are Bezos, Farrow, etc. talking to the media instead of to prosecutors?

    Faster and more damaging to National Enquirer sales, Pecker’s reputation and possibly Pecker’s pocketbook? Any idea what Bezos has done to AMI’s share price?

    The prosecutors will be on their doorsteps anyway.

  4. Amarantha Dyuaaxchs says

    Looks like it’s privately held, so no stock price to speak of. Aurelia Metals Ltd (which has the abbreviation AMI) did drop suddenly fro .84 to .78 at about the time the story came out.

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