The Economist says Steve Bannon is still invited to its festival

The Economist says Steve Bannon is still invited to its festival

Darren Sullivan
September 5, 2018

Donald Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon has been dropped from an American arts and politics festival after other panellists threatened to pull out.

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released a lengthy statement where he explained why he had initially asked Mr Bannon to the NY festival, and then withdrawn the invitation. Festival participants like Judd Apatow, Jim Carrey, John Mulaney, Patton Oswalt, Bo Burnham, and Lena Dunham's ex-boyfriend all announced that they would be canceling in light of Bannon's invitation. "The reason for my acceptance was simple: I would be facing one of the most fearless journalists of his generation", said Bannon. "In what I would call a defining moment, David Remnick showed he was gutless when confronted by the howling online mob", he said.

Meanwhile, Bannon is scheduled to appear September 15 at The Economist's "Open Future" festival in New York City. Still, by committing to have some kind of dialogue with Bannon in the future, Remnick, clearly, does not seem to think he's out of bounds.

Other guests at the 2018 New Yorker Festival include actor Emily Blunt, author Zadie Smith, and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. "The audience itself, by its presence, puts a certain pressure on a conversation that an interview alone doesn't do".

While some people agreed with the celebrities taking a stand others questioned why the New Yorker invited Bannon to begin with. "I've thought this through and talked to colleagues - and I've re-considered", said New Yorker editor David Remnick in a lengthy statement.

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Ben Stiller is not scheduled to be a part of the fest but wanted in on pulling out anyway, writing "I totally was available to fill in when everyone dropped out but would have so quickly said no f-ing way if they had asked, but now it's all moot, so never mind". But, instead, all these famous people, these New Yorker contributors, and these newly unsubscribed readers who shouted their disapproval are no different than the college students who scream that they do not want to be exposed to unsafe ideas every time Milo cons his way onto campus.

Bannon, who espouses far-right views, has been accused of being a white nationalist and racist. "I can not wrap my mind around this Bannon thing", she said on Twitter. He added, "I have the freedom to refuse to share a festival with him".

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.

"Remnick also argued that interviewing Bannon is not endorsing him and his "'ideas' of white nationalism, racism, antisemitism and illiberalism".

"I would like to invite you to sit down with me for an informal, free-ranging discussion of the political movements redefining global and local politics".