The New Yorker Disinvites Steve Bannon From Festival After Twitter Uproar

05 September, 2018, 03:59 | Author: Eleanor Thompson
  • After the initial invite to the controversial Bannon caused an uproar David Remnick the magazine’s editor told staff members on Monday that he is canceling the former Breitbart chief’s appearance

The New Yorker Festival has cancelled a headlining talk with former Donald Trump chief strategist and Breitbart founder Steve Bannon following backlash, and a series of cancellations from people on the lineup.

A statement from David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, explaining his decision to no longer include Steve Bannon in the 2018 New Yorker Festival.

In an earlier phone interview with the Times, Remnick said he had "every intention of asking him hard questions and engaging in a serious and even combative conversation". Remnick has not responded to Bannon's comments. Festival participants like Judd Apatow, Jim Carrey, John Mulaney, Patton Oswalt, Bo Burnham, and Lena Dunham's ex-boyfriend all announced that they would be canceling in light of Bannon's invitation. I genuinely support public intellectual debate, and have paid to see people speak with whom I strongly disagree. But this isn't James Baldwin versus William F. Buckley. This is PT Barnum level horseshit.

The announcement did not go over well. "That is why our invitation to Mr Bannon will stand". Kathryn Schulz, whose Pulitzer-winning article about how the Pacific Northwest is going to wash away in an natural disaster gave all of Seattle nightmares in 2015, tweeted that she was "beyond appalled" by the decision to invite Bannon. And me? On the same program? The importance of hearing the views of someone linked to America's current political moment should outweigh the revulsion some might have for those views, those critics said.

Others felt that it was censorship and that Bannon has as much right to speak as anyone else. He added, "I have the freedom to refuse to share a festival with him". Writers, staffers and others scheduled to be a part of the event were also speaking out, but the most prominent voices came from the world of comedy. But, instead, all these famous people, these New Yorker contributors, and these newly unsubscribed readers who shouted their disapproval are no different than the college students who scream that they do not want to be exposed to risky ideas every time Milo cons his way onto campus.

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"I would like to invite you to sit down with me for an informal, free-ranging discussion of the political movements redefining global and local politics".

Shut them down - not because of ideology or politics, but because there is no news value there. Everyone, it seemed, was mad at the New Yorker for "normalizing" Steve Bannon, and, perhaps worse, "giving him a platform".

A number of attendees, including actor Jim Carey and presenter Jimmy Fallon, then said they would not attend.

Remnick conceded that the festival was not the best format in which to interview Bannon, and that it could be done "in a more traditional journalistic setting". Director Ava DuVernay lamented that the magazine was selling tickets to see a man who had helped white nationalists reach the mainstream.

Challenging the likes of Bannon, or pushing back against the likes of Conway, only makes these figures into folk heroes, bravely telling their would-be truths to a corrupt media elite.

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"Let them call you racists". "But to interview Bannon is not to endorse him".

Bannon, who was to headline the prestigious festival, denounced Remnick in a statement.

"I don't want well-meaning readers and staff members to think that I've ignored their concerns", Remnick said.

"I've changed my mind", Remnick said.

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.

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