Amazon’s CEO sued for defamation by his girlfriend’s brother


Michael Sanchez, who is the brother of Jeff Bezos’ girlfriend, sued the Inc. (AMZN)’s founder for defamation, by alleging his representatives spread the false rumors to news outlets that Sanchez provided the graphic nude photos of Jeff Bezos to the press.

On Friday, a lawsuit filed in California in state court in Los Angeles, also names as a defendant Gavin de Becker, a security consultant hired by Bezos. Sanchez, a talent manager, claims de Becker worked with Bezos to spread false statements about the public disclosure of Bezos’ affair with Lauren Sanchez, Sanchez’s sister.

A lawyer for Jeff Bezos said, “My client has chosen to address this lawsuit in court and we will do that soon.” A lawyer representing Sanchez provided a statement on her behalf. It said, “Michael is my older brother. He secretly provided my most personal information to the National Enquirer, a deep and unforgivable betrayal.”

Sanchez’s lawsuit acknowledges that he helped publicize the relationship in an attempt to get out in front of news about the relationship. His lawsuit concerns what he says was a campaign by Bezos and de Becker to blame Sanchez for turning over graphic nude photographs, which Sanchez denies doing. People familiar with Sanchez’s dealings with the tabloid said he showed a below-the-belt selfie of Bezos to the Enquirer, without providing a copy, but turned over other images.

Amazon was founded by Jeff Bezos in Bellevue, Washington, in July 1994. The company initially started as an online marketplace for books but later expanded to sell electronics, software, video games, apparel, furniture, food, toys, and jewelry. In 2015, Amazon surpassed Walmart as the most valuable retailer in the United States by market capitalization. In 2017, Amazon acquired Whole Foods Market for US$13.4 billion, which vastly increased Amazon’s presence as a brick-and-mortar retailer. In 2018, Bezos announced that its two-day delivery service, Amazon Prime, had surpassed 100 million subscribers worldwide.

Amazon distributes downloads and streaming of video, music, and audiobooks through its Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Music, and Audible subsidiaries. Amazon also has a publishing arm, Amazon Publishing, a film and television studio, Amazon Studios, and a cloud computing subsidiary, Amazon Web Services. It produces consumer electronics including Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets, Fire TV, and Echo devices. In addition, Amazon acquisitions include Ring, Twitch, Whole Foods Market, and IMDb. Among various controversies, the company has been criticized for technological surveillance overreach, a hyper-competitive and demanding work culture, tax avoidance, and anti-competitive practices.