In defence of Jeff Bezos’ penis

Jeff Bezos is a terrible human being. But does that mean he can’t take a dick pic? 

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Last night, news broke that somehow managed to make this hell year worse. Amazon CEO and cartoon villain Jeff Bezos published a blog post on Medium accusing the tabloid paper, the National Enquirer, of “extortion and blackmail” for – oh, yes – threatening to publish a series of pictures featuring his penis.

He wrote that the Enquirer had acquired a series of dick pics sent by Bezos to a female acquaintance, and that the paper was allegedly implying the Amazon CEO should make a financial offering to hold their publication. 

To take this story from “I fucking hate this timeline we’re in” to “okay, this is getting a bit too on the nose”, Bezos addressed the blog post to the chief executive of The National Enquirer’s publisher, American Media Inc., whose name is David Pecker: “No thank you, Mr Pecker”.

There’s a lot to unpack from Bezos’ statement, from accusations of Trump’s involvement (Pecker is a confidant of the president’s) to the random reference to these pictures being sent to reporter, actress, and model Lauren Sánchez.

But beyond the question of whether or not this is blackmail, whether Bezos sent the pics to a famous news anchor, or if they’re his pics at all, I ask: who, actually, gives a shit?

My colleague Stephen Bush wrote earlier this week about this issue when Tory party chair, Brandon Lewis, called for Labour MP Sally Keeble to be sacked over liking a picture of a penis on Twitter:

“‘What’s wrong with liking pictures of penises anyway?’... to be blunt, even if she had liked a picture of a penis: so what? Many people are quite fond of penises, and many others find them at least tolerable, and some members of both groups enjoy looking at pictures of them.”

And so I ask a similar rhetorical question: what’s wrong with Jeff Bezos taking a picture of his dick?

We know Bezos is both a cheater and the world’s richest man, and that he became the latter off the back of one of the world’s most notoriously unethical companies. Amazon staff deal with truly abominable work conditions and Bezos responds to them by being a personification of Ebenezer Scrooge dragging a pile of coins into his chest. He doesn’t deserve sympathy because – obviously – he’s a really bad dude.

But if Bezos was taking pictures of his penis for his own pleasure, or at the request of a consensual partner or two, is there really anything wrong with that? The answer, I would say, and I hate to do so, is no.

That’s not to say we should all go around stanning Jeff Bezos. He is (to reiterate!) an unapologetically heinous man. But if Jeff Bezos wants to send pictures of his penis (which, having seen what his head looks like, I can’t imagine to be great), to people who have consented to see it, then fair play to him.

And let us all just be thankful that, for the first time ever, he’s using his power and influence for good, sparing the rest of us of the ghastly sight of the thing.

Sarah Manavis is the New Statesman's tech and digital culture writer.