'New Yorker' Editor Explains Why Steve Bannon Was Dropped From Festival

Sep 05, 2018, 04:02
'New Yorker' Editor Explains Why Steve Bannon Was Dropped From Festival

Several celebrities have announced they will no longer participate in pre-planned panels for the upcoming New Yorker Festival if former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon remains on the lineup.

Others, such as author and New Yorker staff writer Malcolm Gladwell, contended that the invitation to Bannon was appropriate.

Prior to the memo's release, Judd Apatow, John Mulaney, Jack Antonoff, Patton Oswalt, and Jim Carey each took to twitter to drop off the festival. "Sorry, @NewYorker. See if Milo Yiannopoulos is free?" a reference to the far-right writer and speaker whose memoir was dropped past year by Simon & Schuster after numerous complaints.

He is still set for an appearance at The Economist's Open Future festival, also in NY, later this month. But less than 12 hours after announcing Bannon as a headliner for the October 5-7 festival, Remnick canceled his plan to interview Bannon. I'm not so mad about it that I would ever cancel my subscription, but, as Malcolm Gladwell, one of the few New Yorker contributors to stand up for Bannon's invitation, said, "Call me old fashioned". "The audience itself, by its presence, puts a certain pressure on a conversation that an interview alone doesn't do". I've thought this through and talked to colleagues - and I've re-considered.

'I've changed my mind. 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". "This is PT Barnum level horseshit", he wrote calling Bannon an "amateur night sonofabitch".

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'".

Since leaving the White House previous year, Bannon has continued to champion right-wing causes, including supporting British anti-Islam activist Tommy Robinson, who was freed from prison last month after winning a legal challenge over contempt charges.

The announcement did not go over well. And staff members at the New Yorker also publicly objected. "But to interview Bannon is not to endorse him. Could never happen", added actor Jim Carrey.

Now, I'm under no illusion that a tough interview with David Remnick would change Steve Bannon's mind, but I am of the opinion that more understanding about the world is always better than less.

Faced with all these A-list departures, festival organizers quickly made a decision to do an about-face, announcing that Bannon would no longer be invited to speak.

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