New Yorker Festival drops Bannon after celebrity backlash

Steve Bannon dropped from New Yorker Festival after outrage from Judd Apatow Patton Oswalt John Mulaney and more speakers

When The New Yorker announced that Steve Bannon - the man who mainstreamed white nationalism as a former Donald Trump adviser - would headline its New Yorker Festival, the internet responded with a collective, "Are you kidding me?". John Mulaney, Patton Oswalt and Bo Burnham were also among those who had threatened a boycott. "Sorry, @NewYorker. See if Milo Yiannopoulos is free?" a reference to the far-right writer and speaker whose memoir was dropped previous year by Simon & Schuster after numerous complaints.

Update: The New Yorker Festival has dropped Steve Bannon from its lineup amid backlash.

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. 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". But this isn't James Baldwin vs William F Buckley. "We asked him to take part because his populist nationalism is of grave outcome in today's politics".

Everyone, it seemed, was mad at the New Yorker for "normalizing" Steve Bannon, and, perhaps worse, "giving him a platform".

"To interview Bannon is not to endorse him", David Remnick said. "The point of an interview, a rigorous interview, particularly in a case like this, is to put pressure on the views of the person being questioned". "It's obvious that no matter how tough the questioning, Bannon is not going to burst into tears and change his view of the world".

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The New Yorker's reversal, however, was also criticised by conservative commentators. "I've thought this through and talked to colleagues - and I've re-considered", said New Yorker editor David Remnick in a lengthy statement.

The weekly magazine had planned to interview Bannon, which it called a leading creator and organizer of "Trumpism", as a part of the October festival.

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

The Economist isn't backing off from its decision to invite Steve Bannon to appear at a conference the magazine is holding later this month.

Remnick's decision came after several panelists said they would not share a platform with Bannon, whose influence was seen as having driven Trump's travel ban on majority Muslim countries and his reaction to the killing of a protester by a white supremacist in Charlottesville, Virginia previous year.

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