Terry Crews has doubled down on claims American Media Inc. threatened to publish a false story about him hiring prostitutes if he didn't drop a sex assault lawsuit against a talent agent with links to their company.
The actor repeated his 2017 allegations against the magazine's parent company on Friday after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on Thursday publicly accused the National Enquirer of extorting him, using private images as a weapon.
Crews, one of the first famous men to openly speak about being sexually assaulted in the entertainment industry, accused WME Entertainment's Adam Venit of groping him at an event.
WME sister company IMG represents David Pecker's AMI. The parent company of WME and IMG - Endeavor - is headed up by Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell, the estranged husband of Bezos' lover, Lauren Sanchez.
Following Bezos' accusations against AMI, Crews tweeted Friday: 'This same company, AMI, tried to silence me in my lawsuit against @wme and Adam Venit by fabricating stories of me with prostitutes— and even went so far as creating fake receipts. I called their bluff by releasing their threats online. They blinked.'
Terry Crews (left) said American Media Inc. threatened to publish false story about him buying prostitutes after he accused Adam Venit (right) of groping him at a party
Actor brought up the allegation again Friday, a day after Jeff Bezos accused AMI of extortion
Bezos claimed David Pecker's AMI threatened him and that it was politically motivated
The American Media board is comprised of four individuals, including: owner David Pecker; Evan Ratner, a partner at Chatham Asset Management; Barry Schwartz, also a partner at at Chatham Asset Management; and David R. Hughes, the former executive vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer of Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc.
DailyMail.com has reached out to AMI for comment.
On November 19, 2017, the Brooklyn Nine Nine actor, shared a screen grab of an email that appeared to be from RadarOnline – also under the AMI umbrella.
It read: 'To Whom It May Concern – RadarOnline intends to publish a story today reporting Terry Crews hired two prostitutes – one of African descent and one Caucasian – on June 16, 2015 while staying at the Hotel Hermitage Monte-Carlo, Monaco.'
'Mr. Crews chose the two prostitutes from the website 'Euro Escort Girls' and paid 2,800 for their company.'
November 2017 Crews shared a screen grab of an email that appeared to be from RadarOnline
December 5, 2017 he responded to breaking news from the Associated Press that former employees had accused top editor at the National Enquirer and other gossip publications of sexual misconduct in newsroom
Tweet was in reference to Dylan Howard (pictured), accused of sending threatening emails to Bezos
He said in a caption that, following a November 15, 2017 chat on television about his groping accusation, the celebrity gossip website sent him the email.
Crews claimed it never came to fruition because it was false information.
He spoke in April 2018 about cheating on his wife Rebecca and about a porn addiction in an episode of Dr. Phil.
'1 day after my @GMA interview, @radaronline threatened me w/ a false story abt me hiring 2 hookers at the 2015 Monte Carlo TV Festival,' he wrote. 'It never went 2 press because it was a lie. This was not a coincidence. I told u they were coming 4 me. I also told you I am ready.'
December 5, 2017 he responded to breaking news from the Associated Press that former employees had accused top editor at the National Enquirer and other gossip publications of sexual misconduct in newsroom.
It was in reference to Dylan Howard, who is accused of sending threatening emails to Bezos's team.
He suggested the news could be the reason there were allegedly attempts from AMI to silence him regarding their rep Venit.
'The same guy who runs @radar_online and @NatEnquirer who threatened me with the false prostitute story 1 day after my @GMA interview now accused of SEXUAL MISCONDUCT. ABUSERS PROTECT ABUSERS,' he tweeted.
AMI boss Pecker is known to be friends with President Trump.
Ronan Farrow has alleged he too was threatened. He said a 'prominent journalist involved in breaking stories about the National Enquirer's arrangement with Trump fielded similar "stop digging or we'll ruin you" blackmail efforts from AMI'
Donald Trump with David Pecker in 2004. AMI has been accused of supporting Trump agenda
Since Bezos' Thursday claim nude images of him obtained by the company were used to threaten him into denying AMI was politically motivated in publishing a story about his relationship with Lauren Sanchez, Ronan Farrow has alleged he too was threatened.
He said a 'prominent journalist involved in breaking stories about the National Enquirer's arrangement with Trump fielded similar "stop digging or we'll ruin you" blackmail efforts from AMI'.
Page Six reports magazine editor Howard told reporters in April 2018: 'If AMI was "helpful" to the president during the campaign it was because the audience of the National Enquirer was one of the most supportive of his candidacy. We covered him for a business reason.'
American Media has defended their dealings with billionaire Amazon founder Bezos in a statement, saying the company 'acted lawfully'.
'Further, at the time of the recent allegations made by Mr. Bezos, it was in good faith negotiations to resolve all matters with him,' said the company.
Lawyer Jon Fine (pictured February 2014), who wrote the terms of the Bezos deal, worked for Amazon as a lawyer, director and vice president at the online firm from 2006 to 2015
The company told Jeff Bezos nude pictures of him would not be published if the Amazon CEO dropped claims the National Enquirer was politically motivated against him
AMI's immunity deal with New York prosecutors over a $150,000 hush payment during the Trump campaign could be under threat because of the 'blackmail' emails
These emails were sent just a few months after American Media agreed to fully cooperate with the Department of Justice in an ongoing investigation involving President Trump
The board will be meeting to launch an investigation into what they refer to as Bezos' 'claims' that he was told to stop investigating AMI ties to Saudi Arabia.
AMI's immunity deal with New York prosecutors over a $150,000 hush payment during the Trump campaign could be under threat because of the 'blackmail'.
These emails were sent just a few months after American Media agreed to fully cooperate with the Department of Justice in an ongoing investigation involving President Trump.
Lawyer Jon Fine wrote the terms of a deal that told Jeff Bezos nude pictures of him would not be published if the Amazon CEO dropped claims the Enquirer was politically motivated against him.
The deputy general counsel for Enquirer owner AMI worked for Amazon as a lawyer, director and vice president at the online firm from 2006 to 2015.
JEFF BEZOS FIRES BACK AFTER ENQUIRER BLACKMAIL THREAT
Something unusual happened to me yesterday. Actually, for me it wasn’t just unusual — it was a first. I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse. Or at least that’s what the top people at the National Enquirer thought. I’m glad they thought that, because it emboldened them to put it all in writing. Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I’ve decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten.
AMI, the owner of the National Enquirer, led by David Pecker, recently entered into an immunity deal with the Department of Justice related to their role in the so-called “Catch and Kill” process on behalf of President Trump and his election campaign. Mr. Pecker and his company have also been investigated for various actions they’ve taken on behalf of the Saudi Government.
And sometimes Mr. Pecker mixes it all together:
“After Mr. Trump became president, he rewarded Mr. Pecker’s loyalty with a White House dinner to which the media executive brought a guest with important ties to the royals in Saudi Arabia. At the time, Mr. Pecker was pursuing business there while also hunting for financing for acquisitions…”
Federal investigators and legitimate media have of course suspected and proved that Mr. Pecker has used the Enquirer and AMI for political reasons. And yet AMI keeps claiming otherwise:
“American Media emphatically rejects any assertion that its reporting was instigated, dictated or influenced in any manner by external forces, political or otherwise.”
Of course, legitimate media have been challenging that assertion for a long time.
I didn’t know much about most of that a few weeks ago when intimate texts messages from me were published in the National Enquirer. I engaged investigators to learn how those texts were obtained, and to determine the motives for the many unusual actions taken by the Enquirer. As it turns out, there are now several independent investigations looking into this matter.
To lead my investigation, I retained Gavin de Becker. I’ve known Mr. de Becker for twenty years, his expertise in this arena is excellent, and he’s one of the smartest and most capable leaders I know. I asked him to prioritize protecting my time since I have other things I prefer to work on and to proceed with whatever budget he needed to pursue the facts in this matter.
Here’s a piece of context: My ownership of the Washington Post is a complexifier for me. It’s unavoidable that certain powerful people who experience Washington Post news coverage will wrongly conclude I am their enemy.
President Trump is one of those people, obvious by his many tweets. Also, The Post’s essential and unrelenting coverage of the murder of its columnist Jamal Khashoggi is undoubtedly unpopular in certain circles.
(Even though The Post is a complexifier for me, I do not at all regret my investment. The Post is a critical institution with a critical mission. My stewardship of The Post and my support of its mission, which will remain unswerving, is something I will be most proud of when I’m 90 and reviewing my life, if I’m lucky enough to live that long, regardless of any complexities it creates for me.)
Back to the story: Several days ago, an AMI leader advised us that Mr. Pecker is “apoplectic” about our investigation. For reasons still to be better understood, the Saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive nerve.
A few days after hearing about Mr. Pecker’s apoplexy, we were approached, verbally at first, with an offer. They said they had more of my text messages and photos that they would publish if we didn’t stop our investigation.
My lawyers argued that AMI has no right to publish photos since any person holds the copyright to their own photos, and since the photos in themselves don’t add anything newsworthy.
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.
OK, back to their threat to publish intimate photos of me. I guess we (me, my lawyers, and Gavin de Becker) didn’t react to the generalized threat with enough fear, so they sent this.
Well, that got my attention. But not in the way they likely hoped. Any personal embarrassment AMI could cause me takes a back seat because there’s a much more important matter involved here. If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can? (On that point, numerous people have contacted our investigation team about their similar experiences with AMI, and how they needed to capitulate because, for example, their livelihoods were at stake.)
In the AMI letters I’m making public, you will see the precise details of their extortionate proposal: They will publish the personal photos unless Gavin de Becker and I make the specific false public statement to the press that we “have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI’s coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces.”
If we do not agree to affirmatively publicize that specific lie, they say they’ll publish the photos, and quickly. And there’s an associated threat: They’ll keep the photos on hand and publish them in the future if we ever deviate from that lie.
Be assured, no real journalists ever propose anything like what is happening here: I will not report embarrassing information about you if you do X for me. And if you don’t do X quickly, I will report the embarrassing information.
Nothing I might write here could tell the National Enquirer story as eloquently as their own words below.
These communications cement AMI’s long-earned reputation for weaponizing journalistic privileges, hiding behind important protections, and ignoring the tenets and purpose of true journalism. Of course I don’t want personal photos published, but I also won’t participate in their well-known practice of blackmail, political favors, political attacks, and corruption. I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out.