Jeff Bezos was congratulated by establishment political figures on the left and right for exposing what some have called an attempt to blackmail him by the National Enquirer.
Bezos had been threatening a lawsuit against the Enquirer for publishing his embarrassing text messages to his mistress. If Bezos’ transcripts of emails with the Enquirer’s owners are to be believed, it seems as if they threatened to release even more of Bezos’ lewd text messages if he didn’t cease and desist with his lawsuit.
Bezos, under the impression that he was being blackmailed, released the emails. Now it remains to be seen if more personal messages and photos associated with the billionaire oligarch will be released.
If not, the Amazon billionaire will have largely succeeded in what many have called an effort by a wealthy and influential individual to shut down embarrassing press coverage. Bezos claimed in his expose of the emails that pictures of his genitalia are unnewsworthy and thus worthy of legal sanctions should they be published.
However, at one point Bezos was far less amenable to the idea that wealthy individuals should be able to shut down embarrassing news coverage.
The oligarch went on the record in 2016 in defense of the now-defunct media platform Gawker, which was at the time being sued by Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel and Hulk Hogan. Gawker had outed Thiel as a gay man and exposed a sex tape of the former WWE superstar.
At the time, Bezos sided with Gawker, stating that “the best defense against speech that you don’t like about yourself as a public figure is to develop a thick skin.”
The lawsuit against Gawker was ultimately successful, sending the company out of business.
Bezos spoke in the now completely hypocritical remarks at a tech conference in California:
“As a public figure, the best defense you have against… speech that you don’t like, is to have a thick skin.”
Interestingly, it seems that Bezos’ perspective on supposed media defamation has shifted completely when it targets himself, and more broadly, the progressive left.
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