Former National Enquirer employees expose the tabloid's long history of blackmailing people
Jeff Bezos released email exchanges which he claims were attempts at extortion and blackmail by the National Enquirer tabloid. (AFP/File / Jim WATSON)

Former employees of the National Enquirer revealed that they were not surprised by the tabloid's shady business practices in a report by The Daily Beast.

In a blog post, Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos exposed the National Enquirer for blackmail threats in an attempt to get him to squash  an article for The Post.

“The threats, the blackmail, that’s their business model,” a former National Enquirer staffer told The Beast.

A private investigator, Paul Barresi, who worked for The Enquirer's parent company American Media Inc. said the company has been blackmailing people for years.

“The nice way of calling it was quid pro quo, but really it was blackmail,” Barresi said. “I know that the same methodology is practiced today. Obviously it's practiced because they did it to Bezos."

"If someone approached [the tabloid] for a story, they would approach the attorneys and say, ‘Make us a better offer,’” Daniel Hanks a contract investigator for the tabloid said.

“I’ve known this newspaper’s tactics for years, and I’d rather the truth be told,” Hanks added.

Hanks explained that people are not as threatened by the threats of blackmail as much as they were in the past.

“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," Hanks said.

The report then details the history of The Enquirer attempting to blackmail celebrities and media publications including Bill Cosby, the Associated Press, and Whoopi Goldberg.

"The National Enquirer offered to pay for an interview with one of Bill Cosby’s accusers in 2005, then allegedly turned over the file to the comedian in exchange for an exclusive sit-down with him," the report said.

“This guy has got some balls because he’s standing up to them," Barresi said.

Read the full report here.