Published: Wed, September 05, 2018
Culture | By Henry Herrera

New Yorker drops Steve Bannon from festival after outcry

New Yorker drops Steve Bannon from festival after outcry

Following the backlash, the New Yorker's editor-in-chief released a lengthy statement where he explained why he had initially asked Mr Bannon to the NY festival, and then withdrawn the invitation.

Nobody expected Steve Bannon to get an especially warm welcome to the New Yorker Festival-but the backlash was so fierce that the magazine ended up withdrawing its invitation to the former Trump strategist.

Remnick said he was planning for a "serious" conversation with Bannon.

Zanny Minton Beddoes, editor-in-chief of The Economist, said in a letter published Tuesday on its site that in recent months the media outlet has solicited contributions from a range of people - including those "with whose views we agree and disagree" - in the run-up to its "Open Future" festival, set for September 15 in Hong Kong, London and NY.

Following the announcement that Steve Bannon would be headlining the New Yorker Festival this October, subscribers, celebrities, and even the magazine's own employees turned to Twitter to vent their frustrations. (Which does not happen, of course, when we interview someone for an article or for the radio.) I don't want well-meaning readers and staff members to think that I've ignored their concerns. I've thought this through and talked to colleagues - and I've re-considered.

This is a developing story.

Faced with all these A-list departures, festival organizers quickly chose to do an about-face, announcing that Bannon would no longer be invited to speak. This is PT Barnum level horse****.

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Author Roxane Gay offered an unvarnished view on Twitter: Inviting Bannon "demonstrates how the intellectual class doesn't truly understand racism or xenophobia".

David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, explained his decision in a lengthy statement.

If Steve Bannon is at the New Yorker festival I am out. He claimed interviewing Bannon, "one of Trumpism's leading creators and organisers", was not tantamount to pulling him out of obscurity as the former aide was already a public figure.

Beddoes quoted The Economist's founder, James Wilson, who said the paper's mission was to take part in "a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress'".

He added in his note that if the opportunity presents itself, "I'll interview him in a more traditionally journalistic setting as we first discussed, and not on stage".

"The reason for my acceptance was simple: I would be facing one of the most fearless journalists of his generation".

In response, Bannon called Remnick "gutless". British writer Laurie Penny tweeted Monday that she "cannot in good conscience appear at an event which chooses to dignify a neo-nationalist like Steve Bannon". "He believes he is right and that his ideological opponents are mere 'snowflakes.' The question is whether an interview has value in terms of fact, argument or even exposure, whether it has value to a reader or an audience".

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