Hollywood stars who realized they would be appearing at the New Yorker Festival along with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon threatened to drop out - prompting the magazine to cancel Bannon's role.
Remnick announced his reversal Monday night after scads of critics called him out for giving someone like Bannon, with his offensive-and some say dangerous-views on race and ethnicity, among other things, such a distinguished platform. Sorry, @NewYorker. See if Milo Yiannopoulos is free?'
Remnick added that, unlike for interviews, the publication pays for travel and lodging for festival guests, which was a problem for New Yorker staffers and readers alike. 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 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". But this isn't James Baldwin vs William F Buckley.
For anyone who wonders what normalisation of bigotry looks like, I'd argue first consider that Steve Bannon was chief strategist under the current president.
"I've changed my mind", Remnick said.
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The New Yorker's announcement on Bannon came earlier Monday and was denounced by Roxane Gay, Jessica Valenti and many others. I am not so fragile in my beliefs that Steve Bannon or Milo or any one of their ilk will be able to convince me that we should build the wall or lock her up, but if you don't want to be exposed to risky ideas, I'm sure Bo Burnham's talk will be a nice, safe space. This is PT Barnum level horse****. "And it was announced on a weekend just before tix went on sale", John Mulaney said on Twitter. "The reason for my acceptance was simple: I would be facing one of the most fearless journalists of his generation", Mr. Bannon said in a statement to The New York Times.
In the wake of the backlash, CNN's Brian Stelter posted a statement from Remnick in which he announced that Bannon was no longer invited to the festival.
Since leaving the White House past 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. But as part of a larger pattern of providing legitimacy and normality, it's worse than regrettable.
He said he would consider interviewing him instead in a "traditionally more journalistic" setting in the future. And staff members at the New Yorker also publicly objected.