8:15am PT by Rielle Hunter, as told to Chris Gardner
Rielle Hunter: How It Feels to Be "Stalked" by National Enquirer for Years
I can't even begin to describe what my life was like when the National Enquirer was stalking me. Talk about traumatizing. Thank God that part of my life is over, and I am rich with knowledge and wisdom from being in it for so long.
I put myself there, so I’m not going to complain about that, but during that time I couldn’t find a way out. For many people, life after a big public mistake feels like a no-win situation.
Jeff Bezos is a cycle-breaker. He has shifted the paradigm. Jeff Bezos owned his situation without any shame, he exposed both sides, including the Enquirer’s tactics.
It’s so genius to me. He did not allow them to take his power or shame him. He’s using the unfortunate part of being in the gutter with them to try and do some good. He has the resources to roll the log over and to shine a light on the underbelly. Jeff Bezos may finally be the end to Mr. Pecker’s toxic male domination.
They are in the shame business. They capitalize on exposing what you don't want exposed. That’s their business — trashing, shaming and destroying people’s lives and careers. We all make mistakes, we are human, that's how we grow and learn, so it's not that hard to get into the gutter, and if you ever find yourself in the gutter with them the real question becomes — how do you get out?
He’s fair game. When you’re a public figure who engages in duplicitous behavior, you’re the flip-side of the same coin of their shadow behavior, and unfortunately, you’ve ended up in the gutter with them.
They stalked me for five years. They are relentless in their pursuit of destruction. I was in that gutter for five years with them and I was stuck. It was maddening. You can't sue them. Because most of the time the story is true. Well, let me rephrase, they add 98 percent of BS around the one piece of documentation that they have somehow gotten their grubby little hands on that happens to be true.
Second, you would be giving them private information in the deposition that you would never, ever want them to have because of course they would use it against you.
And lastly, who wants to spend their time fighting them? The thought alone makes me want to shower. Yes, they want to make deals with you, but that is like dancing with the devil. No, thank you. You are trying to get out of gutter, not build a house and live there.
This really has the possibility to change tabloid journalism for good. If we, as a society, are no longer allowing ourselves to be shamed, or be shame-based, there will be no need to buy those publications.
Today Jeff Bezos is my hero.
Thank God someone finally broke the cycle and showed us a way out of the gutter. I really hope he keeps the light on so we can all see what comes crawling out.
Rielle Hunter is a writer and comedian who is currently working on a mockumentary. She authored the New York Times best-seller What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter, and Me.