Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
  • Jeff Bezos says that the National Enquirer argued that it would be in the public interest to publish intimate private photos of him, because they reflect on his judgment as the CEO of Amazon.
  • Bezos had a snappy response: He personally built Amazon up to become one of the most valuable and important companies in the world. "I will let those results speak for themselves."
  • Despite Bezos' snappy comeback, it's worth noting that his divorce from wife MacKenzie Bezos does carry some risks for Amazon shareholders - risks that could become exacerbated by this whole dramatic episode.

It's the position of the National Enquirer, it seems, that it would be in the public interest to publish intimate photos of Jeff Bezos - including at least one racy selfie - because they would reflect on his business judgment as CEO of Amazon.

That's according to Bezos himself, in a defiant blog post claiming that the National Enquirer, and its publisher, David Becker, were engaging in "extortion and blackmail" over those photos. To support his claims, Bezos published what appear to be e-mails from lawyers representing the National Enquirer, and its parent company, AMI.

"With millions of Americans having a vested interest in the success of Amazon, of which your client remains founder, chairman, CEO, and president, an exploration of Mr. Bezos' judgment as reflected by his texts and photos is indeed newsworthy and in the public interest," said one of these e-mails, in part.

In the blog post, Bezos indicated that he's having none of it, saying that Amazon's status as one of the most valuable and influential companies in the world should be proof enough of his business acumen.

Writes Bezos:

"AMI's claim of newsworthiness is that the photos are necessary to show Amazon shareholders that my business judgment is terrible. I founded Amazon in my garage 24 years ago, and drove all the packages to the post office myself. Today, Amazon employs more than 600,000 people, just finished its most profitable year ever, even while investing heavily in new initiatives, and it's usually somewhere between the #1 and #5 most valuable company in the world. I will let those results speak for themselves."

However, amid this unfolding drama, it's worth noting that this episode could very well have big ramifications for Amazon shareholders. Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, are in the process of divorcing, and have no prenuptial agreement.

This divorce carries two big risks for Amazon shareholders, legal experts recently told Business Insider. First, the divorce itself could distract Bezos from his duties as CEO of Amazon and owner of the Washington Post. Second, MacKenzie could become one of Amazon's largest shareholders, affecting the balance of power at the company.

Both of those risks could be exacerbated if things get messy between Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos ahead of the finalisation of the divorce. While it remains to be seen how this will play out, Bezos' stand on this matter is unlikely to help in that regard.

For more go to Business Insider South Africa.

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