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Image: Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Jeff Bezos made headlines back in 2019 when he posted on Medium that he had been having an affair with a married TV journalist and that he was writing about it because the National Enquirer had photos and was trying to blackmail him.

But there was far more to the story, as Bloomberg journalist Brad Stone details in his forthcoming book "Amazon Unbound," an excerpt of which is being published today by Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

Zoom in: While the Medium post was a master stroke in shifting the broader narrative, Bezos used a personal appeal to Amazon executives to convince his team that he remained firmly in control.In the excerpt, Stone details how Bezos explained the whole affair, if you will, to Amazon executives during a lengthy Feb. 14, 2019 meeting that ran so long that it cut into executives' Valentine's Day plans.

  • Bezos' Medium post had accused the Enquirer of trying to extort him and linked the tabloid publisher to political figures hostile to him, including Saudi Arabian leaders upset with how The Washington Post — which Bezos owns — covered the murder of its reporter Jamal Khashoggi.
  • "All of this is very distracting, so thank you for being focused on the business," Bezos told the executives, as he turned from explaining his personal life to managing the corporate head count.

Between the lines: The incident shows Bezos' skill at owning the narrative, using the same skills he typically applies to Amazon product launches to protecting one of the company's most valuable assets — Bezos' reputation.

Yes, but: As Stone highlights, Bezos was actually beginning the process of loosening his once vise-like grip on Amazon, a move that would eventually lead Bezos to hand the reins to Andy Jassy, the longtime head of Amazon Web Services.

Go deeper

NASA estimates Tonga volcano exploded with force of 5-6 megatons

A satellite image of Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano on Dec. 24, before the eruption. Photo: Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies

NASA scientists estimate the power of Tonga's volcanic eruption over the weekend to have been 5-6 Megatons of TNT equivalent.

Threat level: Saturday's eruption of the Hunga Tonga Hunga Haʻapai volcano and subsequent tsunami killed at least three people. Scientists warn an "ash-seawater cocktail" poses a potentially toxic health threat, and drinking water could be contaminated.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

New York AG alleges "significant evidence" of Trump Organization fraud

Combination images of former President Trump and New York State Attorney General Letitia James. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images; Scott Heins/Getty Images

New York's attorney general filed a motion Tuesday seeking to compel former President Trump and his two elder children to appear for sworn testimony in her office's civil investigation into the Trump Organization's financial dealings.

Why it matters: Attorney General Letitia James revealed new details in the court filing and a statement on her office's investigation into the Trump Organization's business practices, including a preliminary finding alleging the company used "fraudulent and misleading asset valuations to obtain economic benefits."

5 hours ago - Technology

Ex-N.Y. Post digital chief files lawsuit alleging sexual harassment

Richard B. Levine) (Photo by Richard Levine/Corbis via Getty Images

Former New York Post editor Michelle Gotthelf is suing her former employer, its parent company News Corp. and two editors, alleging she was reprimanded after complaining to senior executives that she was sexually harassed by retired N.Y. Post editor-in-chief Col Allan. The N.Y. Post issued a statement denying any wrongdoing.

Why it matters: "I felt that I owed it to myself and I owed it to the news organization and the people who answered to me," Gotthelf, who was a long time editor at the N.Y. Post, told Axios in an interview.