Before his bombing charge that American Media Inc. (AMI) was trying to extort and blackmail him, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was portrayed in some corners as a villain.

While Bezos fights hard against the publisher of National Enquirer, the richest guy in the world can become not only a hero for anyone who has ever faced a tyrant, but also a defender of traditional journalism. Maybe even someone who can become more of an ordinary person, at least to the extent that anyone at the top of the Forbes 400 can be described this way.

Consider the somewhat negative position of Bezos before its publication on the blog site Medium, where he accused AMI. The billionaire founder of Amazon, the Blue Origin spaceflight company, and owner of the Washington Post – pending divorce from his novelist wife MacKenzie – has found himself in a purgatory at the tabloid after the publication by National Inquire exchanges of intimate texts between Bezos and Lauren Sanchez, former news presenter of the Los Angeles TV with whom he had had an extramarital affair.

More: Jeff Bezos accuses National Enquirer's parent of attempted extortion and blackmail

But that's not all. Over the years, Bezos, a demanding boss, has been accused of having created a culture of brutally merciless labor at Amazon. Moreover, despite his enormous wealth, he has also been described as stingy.

At the same time, Amazon has grown so much that its powerful and disruptive tentacles, which reach the cloud via Amazon Web Services, are causing concern, stock shelves at Whole Foods and kitchen counters through Alexa's familiar voice. .

More recently, Amazon was criticized for its protracted and controversial draws to decide which municipality would be awarded its second head office, a prize that was ultimately awarded to Northern Virginia and Long Island City, New York. although the saga is not over. . The Washington Post on Friday released a report that Amazon may reconsider the location of New York City because of a political and community response.

"His reputation was not so good for these other reasons, not to say that these claims are true," says Ari Ginsberg, professor of entrepreneurship and management at the Stern School of Business at New York University.

Bezos, of course, would probably be the first to admit that his Medium position and the events surrounding him would not be the preferred approach to boost his reputation.

"Of course, I do not want personal photos to be published, but I will not participate in the well known practice of their (AMI) blackmail, political favors, political attacks and corruption. I prefer to get up, roll this newspaper and see what happens, "wrote Bezos.

"It's a great way to get some benefits," said brand strategist Killian Killian Branding, adding it was a very low bar to overtake the National Enquirer.

For the most part, Bezos is a lonely leader whose profile has not matched until recently that of Tesla's Elon Musk or Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, both of whom face their own, albeit different, problems.

"My idea is that if it was started in a training, most people could not choose it," says branding specialist, Rob Frankel, about Bezos.

Forbes' ranking and the management of the post office, even if it entrusted the day-to-day management to the journalists, certainly strengthened the visibility of Bezos. He has also been a frequent target of President Donald Trump. But it took the Sanchez-National Enquirer affair to smear the cup of Bezos on the front pages of the tabloids.

Make rich and famous fall

Bezos' reputation is threatened by the three things Frankel says the Americans can not get enough of – a ragged story about riches, the lives of the rich and celebrities, and seeing the rich and the famous. knock down.

"For better or for worse, he's going to be clubbed. It's going to be a very bad year for humans, "says Frankel.

But Killian takes the opposite view: "It's such a crush, a rich guy who has a mistress and a P.S-so-what (story). But now, this kind of evil enterprise is trying to blackmail him and he is defending himself by doing something very daring – it's a much better story, "says Killian.

The impact on Amazon

Bezos may be tarnished, but experts do not expect Amazon to take one.

Bill George, former CEO of Medtronic and currently a professor at Harvard Business School, thinks Bezos has made a big mistake in putting himself in this situation because he should know that everything you say, write or write can be too easily shared .

"CEOs are public figures, and Bezos is one of the most public figures in the world, even though he's a particular," George said. "I think it was not clear when he did these things.It is Amazon's reputation and is quickly becoming the Washington Post's reputation." Does this hurt (to them?) ), you bet. "

But George thinks the harm he caused is minor, because Bezos finally made the right choice by being transparent and not giving in to blackmail.

"I do not think it's going to have any influence on Amazon," Frankel insists. "As long as (consumers) can benefit from free shipping on a pair of slippers over $ 25, they will go to (shop there)."

Ginsberg agrees: "I do not think it will worry shareholders and have an impact on stocks. More importantly, it is what the company is doing strategically in terms of technological progress and growth in new areas. … I do not think customers will stop using Amazon because of what happened last week (and) I do not think it creates a cloud over the company or its leadership. "

Email: ebaig@usatoday.com; Follow @edbaig on Twitter