Steve Bannon Disinvited From New Yorker Festival, Calls Editor 'Gutless'

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ICYMI, there was a brief but intense brouhaha yesterday when it was announced that former Trump strategist Steve Bannon would be a headlining guest at The New Yorker Festival, which takes place in NYC in early October. The annual "festival of ideas," now in its 19th year, is known for attracting A-list participants from show business, literature, politics and journalism. But Bannon remains a pariah in many of these circles, and the backlash was swift, with other famous festival participants dropping out within hours of the announcement.

New Yorker editor David Remnick was to have conducted the Bannon interview; Remnick argued that "The audience itself, by its presence, puts a certain pressure on a conversation that an interview alone doesn’t do. You can’t jump on and off the record." But as the outrage reached a fever pitch on Monday, Remnick announced that Bannon would be dropped from the lineup.

"I’ve thought this through and talked to colleagues — and I’ve reconsidered,” Remnick wrote in a letter to staff that was made public. “I’ve changed my mind. There is a better way to do this. Our writers have interviewed Steve Bannon for The New Yorker before, and if the opportunity presents itself I’ll interview him in a more traditionally journalistic setting as we first discussed, and not on stage."

Bannon's response to the reversal was, essentially, 'cuck.'

It's unclear if the A listers who pulled out of the festival are now back in, but none of them have been removed from The New Yorker festival website. Remnick took a lot of heat during yesterday's controversy rollercoaster, with some wondering if his privileged straight white male perspective prevented him from fully appreciating why Bannon remains such a deeply divisive, offensive figure.

But New Yorker writers like Jelani Cobb and Adam Davidson defended Remnick after he announced that Bannon was disinvited:

And this is also true:

Finally, Trump-Russia expert Seth Ambramson argued that Remnick should have interviewed Bannon to talk about collusion on the record:

Bannon, who is also the subject of a new documentary by Errol Morris, is still scheduled to appear for a fireside chat with the editor-in-chief of The Economist, as part of that magazine's Open Future festival.

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