Aussie ‘sidelined after Bezos shakedown’


Dylan Howard, the embattled editorial director of American Media who was accused of holding a penis pic over the head of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, has been sidelined from working on the National Enquirer and other celebrity magazines in David Pecker’s troubled media empire.

“He’s not doing any print,” a source told Media Ink. “It’s being kept very hush-hush.”

“His office has been converted to a podcast studio, and he moved to the corporate offices,” another source told Media Ink.

The New York Post reporty that as editorial director, Howard had been approving magazine covers and stories at various AMI publications, including the National Enquirer, Us Weekly and OK! — as well as sending “confidential not for distribution” e-mails about Mr Bezos’ affair with Lauren Sanchez.

We hear Howard is now instead keeping busy working on podcasts and ongoing TV projects, including one on the late NFL player Aaron Hernandez, who committed suicide in prison, and another on drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

The changeover comes after Howard’s name emerged in an alleged shakedown of Mr Bezos tied to racy photos detailing his affair with Sanchez, a former Fox TV host.

According to Mr Bezos, Howard sent the billionaire an e-mail offering to spike a second round of stories highlighting the photos, including one “below the belt selfie,” on the condition that Mr Bezos issue a statement saying that its coverage of him was not politically motivated.

The e-mail followed The Enquirer’s January 9 exclusive about the explosive affair and shows the publication held back on publishing some of its racier evidence, including a photo of Sanchez “smoking a cigar in what appears to be a simulated sex scene.”

Mr Bezos released the e-mail in a blog post in February, claiming it was proof he was being blackmailed by AMI, whose boss, Mr Pecker, is a longtime friend of President Trump.

Mr Bezos owns the Washington Post, which has been a target of Mr Trump’s ire.

Mr Trump called it the “Amazon Washington Post,” even though it is a personal investment, not an Amazon holding.

Both Mr Pecker and Howard were already in hot water for arranging a six-figure payment to former playboy model Karen McDougal shortly before the 2016 presidential election.

She claimed she had a brief affair with Mr Trump years earlier.

The Manhattan feds, who at the time were building a case against ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, granted Mr Pecker and Howard immunity for their testimony.

And of course, the story got more complicated when AMI, under pressure from principal owner Chatham Asset Management, headed by Anthony Melchiorre, put the National Enquirer up for sale last month.

James Cohen, CEO of magazine wholesaler Hudson News, said he would buy the title for $US100 million, but would not commit to keeping Howard in his top spot editing the tabloid.

Those acquisition talks are still underway.

Howard did not return calls seeking comment. AMI declined to comment.

This article originally appeared in the New York Post and is republished here with permission