“Today I informed the management at Breitbart News of my immediate resignation,” the reporter at the center of the controversy at the conservative site told BuzzFeed News, the week after Trump’s campaign manager allegedly grabbed her.
Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields and editor-at-large Ben Shapiro are resigning from the company over the site’s handling of Donald Trump’s campaign manager’s alleged assault on Fields, BuzzFeed News has learned.
Fields and Shapiro informed Breitbart News chair Steve Bannon of their decision Sunday night.
“Today I informed the management at Breitbart News of my immediate resignation,” Fields said in a statement sent to BuzzFeed News. “I do not believe Breitbart News has adequately stood by me during the events of the past week and because of that I believe it is now best for us to part ways.”
In his own statement, Shapiro said the episode was emblematic of how he believes the site’s management had sold out the legacy of its founder and namesake, the late Andrew Breitbart.
“Andrew’s life mission has been betrayed,” Shapiro wrote. “Indeed, Breitbart News, under the chairmanship of Steve Bannon, has put a stake through the heart of Andrew’s legacy. In my opinion, Steve Bannon is a bully, and has sold out Andrew’s mission in order to back another bully, Donald Trump; he has shaped the company into Trump’s personal Pravda, to the extent that he abandoned and undercut his own reporter, Breitbart News’ Michelle Fields, in order to protect Trump’s bully campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who allegedly assaulted Michelle.”
Breitbart has been riven by internal strife in recent days after Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, allegedly grabbed Fields and yanked her away from Trump as she was attempting to ask him a question after a press conference in Florida. The Trump campaign denied the incident, despite considerable evidence to the contrary.
Breitbart published a story casting doubt on Fields’ account, appearing to side with the Trump campaign over their own reporter. Joel Pollak, a senior editor-at-large at the organization, ordered staffers to stop defending Fields. One source with knowledge of the situation said some staffers who publicly defended Fields had been threatened with firing.
“Both Lewandowski and Trump maligned Michelle in the most repulsive fashion,” Shapiro wrote in his resignation statement. “Meanwhile, Breitbart News not only stood by and did nothing outside of tepidly asking for an apology, they then attempted to abandon Michelle by silencing staff from tweeting or talking about the issue. Finally, in the ultimate indignity, they undermined Michelle completely by running a poorly-evidenced conspiracy theory as their lead story in which Michelle and Terris had somehow misidentified Lewandowski.”
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