The conservative journalist assaulted by Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski turned in her resignation to Breitbart news Sunday Buzzfeed News has reported. Reporter Michelle Fields joins editor-at-large Ben Shapiro, both of whom informed Breitbart News chair Steve Bannon of their decision Sunday night.
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.
Immediately following the alleged assault, Breitbart published a story that cast 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 staff to stop defending Fields. One source with knowledge of the situation said some staffers who publicly defended Fields had been threatened with firing.
The staff exodus began with Breitbart spokesman Kurt Bardella who was interviewed by CNN Friday night. In his interview Bardella said he objected to Trump and believes Breitbart is lying about their skepticism of Fields’ account.
The controversy began when Fields attempted to ask Trump a question after a press conference in Florida last week. That’s when Lewandowski cut her off, grabbing her arm and nearly jolting the reporter to the ground. Although the Trump campaign denied the incident, audio/video and eyewitness accounts all proved evidence to the contrary.
Fields filed assault charges against Lewandowski in Jupiter, Florida, where the incident took place, and Jupiter’s police department is investigating.
This morning, Breitbart issued a statement after publishing a post mocking their own reporter being assaulted.
Statement from Breitbart News Editor-at-Large and In-House Counsel Joel B. Pollak:
The article was written by me as part of an effort to make light of a significant company event, and was published as a result of a misunderstanding without going through the normal editorial channels.
I apologize to Michelle Fields, my friend Ben Shapiro, and to everyone concerned.
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