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Here is why Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and The Nationwide Enquirer’s mother or father firm are in a public feud over allegations of blackmail and extortion.
USA TODAY

Earlier than his bombshell accusation that American Media Inc. (AMI) was making an attempt to extort and blackmail him, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was solid in some corners as a villain. 

With Bezos counterpunching arduous in opposition to the National Enquirer publisher, the richest man on the earth could not solely come off as hero of kinds to anybody who has ever confronted a bully however as an advocate for conventional journalism. Even perhaps somebody who could emerge as extra of a daily individual, no less than to the diploma that anybody who sits atop the Forbes 400 might be portrayed that means.

Contemplate Bezos’ considerably adverse standing previous to his submit on the Medium blog website the place he accused AMI. The billionaire founding father of Amazon, the Blue Origin area flight firm, and proprietor of the Washington Put up – within the midst of a divorce from his novelist spouse MacKenzie – discovered himself in tabloid purgatory after the Nationwide Enquirer printed intimate textual content exchanges between Bezos and Lauren Sanchez, the previous Los Angeles tv information anchor with whom he was having an extra-marital affair. 

Extra: Jeff Bezos accuses National Enquirer parent of ‘extortion and blackmail’ attempt

However that’s not all. By means of the years Bezos, a demanding boss, has been accused of making a brutally cutthroat workforce tradition at Amazon. What’s extra, regardless of his huge wealth, he has additionally been labeled stingy.

On the identical time, Amazon has grown so large that considerations are sometimes raised about its highly effective and disruptive tentacles, which attain the cloud by way of Amazon Internet Providers, retailer cabinets at Entire Meals, and kitchen counter tops by means of the acquainted voice of Alexa.

Most not too long ago, Amazon has encountered criticism for its drawn out and controversial sweepstakes to determine which municipality can be granted its second company headquarters, an award that finally went to Northern Virginia and Lengthy Island Metropolis, New York, although the saga might not be over. The Washington Put up on Friday printed a report that Amazon could also be reconsidering the New York location, over a political and neighborhood backlash.

“His repute hasn’t been stellar earlier than for these different causes, to not say these claims are true,” says Ari Ginsberg, a professor of entrepreneurship and administration on the New York College’s Stern Faculty of Enterprise. 

Bezos, after all, would most likely be the primary to confess that his Medium submit, and the occasions surrounding it, wouldn’t be the popular strategy to bolster his repute. 

“In fact I don’t need private images printed, however I additionally received’t take part of their (AMI’s) well-known follow of blackmail, political favors, political assaults, and corruption. I choose to face up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out,” Bezos wrote.

“It’s kind of an attention-grabbing strategy to obtain a optimistic profit,” says model strategist Bob Killian of Killian Branding, including that it’s a really low bar to rise above the Nationwide Enquirer.

For probably the most half, Bezos has been a reclusive chief with a profile that, till not too long ago, hadn’t matched that of Tesla’s Elon Musk or Fb’s Mark Zuckerberg, each of whom have run into their very own issues, although completely different. 

 “My inkling is that if he had been thrown in a lineup, most individuals couldn’t decide him out,” branding knowledgeable Rob Frankel says of Bezos. 

Topping the Forbes listing and working the Put up, whilst he’s left day-to-day administration to the journalists, has absolutely raised Bezos’ visibility, after all. He has additionally been a frequent goal of President Trump. Nevertheless it took the Sanchez-Nationwide Enquirer affair to plaster Bezos’ mug on the entrance pages of the tabloids.

Taking down wealthy and well-known

The chance to Bezos’ repute comes with the three issues Frankel claims Individuals can’t get sufficient of: a rags-to-riches story, the lives of the wealthy and well-known, and seeing the wealthy and well-known get taken down. 

“For higher or worse, he’s going to get pummeled. That is going to be a really unhealthy 12 months for the person,” Frankel says.

However Killian takes the alternative view: “It’s such a ho-hum, rich-guy-has-a-mistress-and-P.S.-so-what (story). However now, this kind of evil enterprise tries to blackmail him and he fights again by doing one thing very daring – that’s a a lot better story,” Killian says.

The influence on Amazon

Bezos could himself be tarnished, however consultants don’t anticipate Amazon to take a hit.

Invoice George himself a former CEO at Medtronic and now a professor at Harvard Enterprise Faculty thinks Bezos made a horrible mistake when he acquired into this example within the first place since he ought to know higher that something you say, write, or submit might be too simply shared. 

“CEOs are public figures and Bezos is likely one of the most public figures there’s, although he is a non-public individual,” George says. “I feel he wasn’t considering clearly when he did these items. He’s the repute of Amazon and quickly changing into the repute of the Washington Put up. Does this hurt (them), you guess.” 

 

However George believes the hurt he prompted is minor, as a result of Bezos finally did the fitting factor by being clear and never giving into the blackmail.

“I don’t consider it’s going to have any affect on Amazon in any respect,” Frankel insists. “So long as (shoppers) can get free delivery on a pair of slippers over $25, they’re going to (store there).”

Ginsberg agrees: “I don’t suppose that is going to fret the shareholders and influence the inventory. What’s extra necessary is what the corporate is doing strategically by way of technological developments, and progress into new areas….I don’t suppose clients are going to cease utilizing Amazon due to what’s occurred during the last week, (and) I don’t suppose this places a cloud over the corporate or the corporate’s management.”

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