New Yorker Festival drops Steve Bannon after stars pull out

Bannon calls New Yorker editor David Remnick ‘gutless’ for rescinding invitation

Steve Bannon, US president Donald Trump's former chief strategist, will no longer appear as a headliner at this year's New Yorker Festival.

David Remnick, the editor of the New Yorker, announced the news in an email to the magazine's staff Monday evening, following several scathing rebukes and high-profile dropouts after the festival's lineup, with Bannon featured, was announced.

Within 30 minutes of one another, John Mulaney, Judd Apatow, Jack Antonoff and Jim Carrey said on social media that they would be pulling out of scheduled events at the festival. Right around the time when Remnick announced the cancellation of Bannon's participation, Patton Oswalt did the same.

In Remnick's email to his staff, he said that even New Yorker staff members had expressed discomfort at the decision to invite Bannon to be interviewed at the festival.


“The reaction on social media was critical and a lot of the dismay and anger was directed at me and my decision to engage him,” Remnick’s note said. “Some members of the staff, too, reached out to say that they objected to the invitation, particularly the forum of the festival.”


Bannon lashed out at Remnick, calling him “gutless” for rescinding the invitation.

"The reason for my acceptance was simple: I would be facing one of the most fearless journalists of his generation," Bannon said in a statement to the New York Times. "In what I would call a defining moment, David Remnick showed he was gutless when confronted by the howling online mob."

Bannon, who is in Venice for the screening of a new documentary about him by Errol Morris, said that Remnick called him Monday to say he could no longer accommodate him at the festival.

It was a swift and stunning turnabout for the festival, which is to take place in New York from October 5th to 7th. Bannon once called his former website, Breitbart, a "platform for the alt-right" and is frequently referred to as a white nationalist by his large swath of critics. But in an earlier phone interview with the New York Times, Remnick said the festival was not intended to be a friendly forum for Bannon.

“I have every intention of asking him difficult questions and engaging in a serious and even combative conversation,” Remnick said. But the prospect of the festival’s collapse became too much, and Remnick quickly backtracked. – New York Times