Conservative news and opinion site Breitbart News is in full-on meltdown mode, with the departure of four editorial staffers, protesting what they describe as an unethical alliance between the site and the presidential campaign of Donald Trump.
The site’s management fired back with a bizarrely unprofessional article personally attacking two of the resigning staffers, which was later removed.
Former Breitbart editors and correspondents Michelle Fields, Ben Shapiro, Jordan Schachtel and Jarrett Stepman all announced their resignations at various times on Monday. The controversy first erupted when Fields accused Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, of assaulting her at a campaign rally.
Fields then claimed that Breitbart was failing to take her side because of its support for Trump: “I do not believe Breitbart News has adequately stood by me during the events of the past week, and because of that I believe it is now best for us to part ways.”
Fields was soon followed by several of her colleagues. Editor-at-large Shapiro issued a statement accusing chairman Steve Bannon of betraying the legacy of founder Andrew Breitbart, who passed away in 2012. “Andrew built his life and his career on one mission: fight the bullies. But Andrew’s life mission has been betrayed. 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.”
Schachtel, Breitbart’s national security correspondent, released a statement reading: “The company no longer resembles the ideals that inspired me to start writing for them three years ago. Some of us have been fighting behind the scenes against the party-line Trump propaganda for some time, but without any success, unfortunately.
"Breitbart News is no longer a journalistic enterprise, but instead, in my opinion, something resembling an unaffiliated media Super PAC for the Trump campaign.”
Spokesman Kurt Bardella also said he will no longer represent Breitbart News.
For its part, Breitbart News fired back with an article unleashing personal invective against Shapiro, saying he “apparently violated virtually every clause in his employment contract” during a recent TV appearance,” and accusing him of “abandoning Andrew Breitbart’s lifelong best friend, widow, hand-picked management team and friends in pursuit of an elusive contributorship at the Fox News Channel.”
The article was removed with the explanation that it was a joke published by mistake.