Steve Bannon dropped from New Yorker festival after backlash

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Image caption,
Mr Bannon helped found right-wing news website Breitbart

Donald Trump's former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, has been disinvited from the New Yorker Festival after a high-profile backlash over his appearance.

Since leaving the White House, Mr Bannon has continued to champion right-wing political causes.

On Monday he had been announced as an honorary guest at the magazine's 19th annual literary event in October.

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

Comedian and producer Judd Apatow said he would be withdrawing from the event because he could not take part in any event "that normalises hate".

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Chelsea Clinton, daughter of Bill and Hillary, described inviting Mr Bannon as the "normalisation of bigotry".

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Director Ava DuVernay and author Roxane Gay also spoke out against the decision.

Following the backlash, the New Yorker's editor-in-chief released a lengthy statement where he explained why he had initially asked Mr Bannon to the New York festival, and then withdrawn the invitation.

"To interview Bannon is not to endorse him," David Remnick said.

"By conducting an interview with one of Trumpism's leading creators and organizers, we are hardly pulling him out of obscurity.

"Ahead of the mid-term elections and with 2020 in sight, we'd be taking the opportunity to question someone who helped assemble Trumpism."

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Florida school shooting survivor and anti-gun activist David Hogg is also set to appear at the event

He then said concern from others about the setting of the interview, which he was due to conduct on-stage, had made him change his mind.

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

He said he would consider interviewing him instead in a "traditionally more journalistic" setting in the future.


Mr Bannon hit out at Remnick for backtracking after "seven weeks of continuous requests" to get him to accept the invite.

"In what I would call a defining moment David Remnick showed he was gutless when confronted by the howling online mob," Mr Bannon said.

Before his role with the Trump campaign, Mr Bannon helped found Breitbart News - a right-wing US online news and commentary website.

He left the White House in August 2017 but has continued to vocally support right-wing political causes around the world, including championing a Europe-wide populist "supergroup".

He is still set for an appearance at The Economist's Open Future festival, also in New York, later this month.