Patterico's Pontifications


Michelle Fields and Ben Shapiro Resign from Breitbart Over Lewandowski Incident

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:09 pm

On Friday I said:

If I were Michelle Fields, I’m not sure how I’d feel about working for an organization that rushed to exonerate a guy who assaulted me. But that’s up to her.

It looks like she made her decision. Tonight, news is breaking that Fields and Ben Shapiro have quit

Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields and editor-at-large Ben Shapiro are resigning from the company over the site’s handling of Donald Trump’s campaign manager’s alleged assault on Fields, BuzzFeed News has learned.

Fields and Shapiro informed Breitbart News chairman Steve Bannon of their decision Sunday night.

“Today I informed the management at Breitbart News of my immediate resignation,” Fields said in a statement sent to BuzzFeed News. “I do not believe Breitbart News has adequately stood by me during the events of the past week and because of that I believe it is now best for us to part ways.”

In his own statement, Shapiro said the episode was emblematic of how he believes the site’s management had sold out the legacy of its founder and namesake, the late Andrew Breitbart.

“Andrew’s life mission has been betrayed,” Shapiro wrote.

“Indeed, Breitbart News, under the chairmanship of Steve Bannon, has put a stake through the heart of Andrew’s legacy. In my opinion, Steve Bannon is a bully, and has sold out Andrew’s mission in order to back another bully, Donald Trump; he has shaped the company into Trump’s personal Pravda, to the extent that he abandoned and undercut his own reporter, Breitbart News’ Michelle Fields, in order to protect Trump’s bully campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who allegedly assaulted Michelle.”

Strong words.

This is awkward for me, since I knew Andrew, wrote for his sites, and know some of the people still there. That said, the site hastily ran a piece by Joel Pollak exonerating Lewandowski, which it later had to retract when more video emerged. Credible evidence of dictatorial-sounding warnings from Pollak for employees not to support Fields publicly have also emerged. It’s not for me to say how Andrew would have handled any of this. But it’s certainly the prerogative of Ben Shapiro and Michelle Fields to decide, with their greater knowledge of what has transpired internally, that enough is enough. They appear to be making their decision out of principle, and I can’t help but admire and applaud them for it.

P.S. If you don’t know who Michelle Fields is, type her name into my search box at the right for all the background.

58 Responses to “Michelle Fields and Ben Shapiro Resign from Breitbart Over Lewandowski Incident”

  1. Ding.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  2. I’ve always detested news outlets that are “in the tank” for a candidate. This is why I detest the MSM too. I don’t care if I like the candidate or not, bias is bias.

    There is no excuse, none, for a news outlet that tries to cover up for a candidate. The fact they tried to bully their own employees makes it even worse.

    Arizona CJ (da673d)

  3. who allegedly assaulted Michelle

    shapiro’s getting battery and assault confuzzled here isn’t he

    happyfeet (831175)

  4. Not really, no.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  5. i thought assault involved apprehension

    “Andrew’s life mission has been betrayed,” Shapiro wrote.

    millennials lol

    melodramatic lil monkeys aren’t they

    happyfeet (831175)

  6. Generally speaking, “assault” occurs when someone threatens bodily harm to another in a convincing way. Assault often is followed by battery, which is defined as unlawful physical conduct (often an act of violence, but also unwelcome sexual contact). Not all threats are considered assault. To rise to the level of an actionable offense (in which the plaintiff may file suit), two main elements must be present – See more at:

    this is what the internet says i know you have a lot of expertise but it seems like it’s sloppy to say that Michelle was assaulted cause of in my head that conjures up something way different than what happened here

    happyfeet (831175)

  7. Here is the problem with your position. Michelle Fields is making up a big fable here of her so-called assault.

    I mean, come on, people. Look at the video. It speaks for itself.

    Why are you embarrassing yourselves with this trivia is a mystery to me. I don’t get it.

    Skeptical Gal (2fbaf0)

  8. 5.i thought assault involved apprehension

    IANAL but I think that is if there is no contact. As in you swing and miss.

    James B. Shearer (0f56fb)

  9. “Skeptical Gal”:

    I have seen that. That is not all of the evidence out there.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  10. happyfeet,

    Assault is defined differently in California. I have no idea how it is defined where Fields was assaulted. However, you can rest assured that here, at least, it is possible to charge and obtain convictions for assault in cases where people were injured by the defendant’s action. For example, if someone shoots a gun at people and hits them in a nonfatal manner, if you cannot prove attempted murder (and often you can), they are generally charged with assault with a firearm.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  11. I use the term assault in these stories because it sounds odd to me to say Lewandowski “battered” Fields. To me, that word conjures up an image of something more serious and intentional than what actually happened, all technicalities aside. This thing is not the crime of the century. It was, however, extreme and unprofessional — and the aftermath has been a complete circus.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  12. Where is the evidence that this is a terrible crime, particularly in light of that video above?

    Skeptical Gal (2fbaf0)

  13. Where is the evidence that this is a terrible crime, particularly in light of that video above?

    I just got through saying that it’s not the crime of the century. I would also say it’s not a “terrible crime.”

    If you’re looking for evidence that it was a crime, clicking the very first link in this post will give you plenty of that.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  14. it sounds odd to me to say Lewandowski “battered” Fields

    i definitely agree, but to say she was assaulted seems to err in a different direction

    happyfeet (831175)

  15. Of course, I must be careful when I say such things that I am speaking solely as a private citizen. I have no idea whether the relevant prosecutorial agency would file charges, and they presumably will have access to more information than I. And I, of course, have zero authority in their jurisdiction.

    It’s silly that I have to say such things, but if I don’t, there are cretins who might try to use it against me.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  16. i definitely agree, but to say she was assaulted seems to err in a different direction

    Not to me. And I have litigated and obtained assault convictions.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  17. “Battery” isn’t an everyday-English term when used in this legal sense. “Assault” used generically is more understandable in this context. If Ms. Fields were to file a civil tort lawsuit, she’d allege both assault and battery in her legal pleadings, but even in court, her lawyer could, quite properly and without risk of being misunderstood, probably refer to the “assault upon her” or “the occasion on which she was assaulted” without need for correction by the judge. If instead criminal charges were involved, then the court and lawyers would probably closely track whatever the terminology is in the relevant jurisdiction’s criminal statutes.

    This controversy is revealing and symbolic, and it apparently is — and it seems like it definitely should be — a source of great turmoil at, a website of which I’ve been no fan lately. It’s not on my list of the 30 worst things Donald Trump has done in the last 10 days, though. In terms of national significance, it is absolutely trivial in contrast, for example, to Trump’s continued refusal to release his income tax returns.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  18. I think its pretty clear she got yanked away from the precious. Hard.
    There’s been a bunch of exaggeratin’ but that was on the Trump side.
    Backspinning Trump folks say she wasn’t on the floor, which is misdirection because she didn’t say she fell on the floor, only that he pulled her down and she stumbled.

    A little tepid apology for unmeant harm was in order. “He tried to pull me down” is subjective but is a reasonable subjective description a yank that pulls you off your balance, and gives you bruises.

    And I don’t really believe the denials of the story of an early anonymous source who claimed admissions from the yanker that he thought she was “ordinary” MSM. I just don’t. There was too much wagon circling when it wasn’t necessary: that means a guilty mind.

    SarahW (67599f)

  19. Happyfeet linked to the tort definition, not the crime.

    SPQR (a3a747)

  20. And Breitbart has shat the bed, as part of a long series of bedbefoulment they have engaged in. Ben Shapiro has regained some of the respect I used to have for him.

    SPQR (a3a747)

  21. If anything, Skeptical Gal’s video helps solidify the conclusion that it was Lewandowski who grabbed Fields.

    Which means he is lying.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  22. I was once hired by a bus company whose name you’d recognize to represent one of its employees, a baggage handler, who, on a bright and sunny Friday morning, had resisted the efforts of a passenger to reclaim a piece of luggage she insisted was hers, but for which she’d lost or misplaced her claim check. She wouldn’t fill out the necessary forms, but insisted on walking away with the bag, which the bus company employee was duty-bound to prevent. She swore out a report for assault and battery with the local police, and he was arrested from the job-site and taken to the city jail.

    The company therefore felt duty-bound — although they had no legal obligation — to pay for a lawyer and a bail bondsman to bail him out. We also were preparing to defend against what seemed likely to be a civil lawsuit for assault & battery.

    Unfortunately, the baggage handler had an extremely unfortunate surname for these circumstances: “Savage.” He was actually a very sweet-spoken and -tempered man, despite his surname and his roughly 6’5″ frame on which roughly 300 pounds was well-distributed.

    Even more unfortunately, Mr. Savage had a series of outstanding warrants for unpaid traffic tickets. So my bailing him out on the A&B charge wouldn’t actually get him out of jail. The bus company gave me strict instructions that I was not, at their expense, to represent him on his outstanding warrants. But when I asked what would happen if he didn’t show up for work on Monday, I was told: “He’ll be fired, of course.”

    Ex-employees rarely make good witnesses for their previous employer, even if they’ve been terminated for cause.

    I therefore sought permission, from both company and Mr. Savage, to represent him pro bono on his outstanding warrants. I promptly pleaded those down with a grateful prosecutor to a payment plan on the back fines, securing his release on those charges. And I got him released on personal recognizance from the A&B charge.

    The alleged victim, predictably, did sue. But she didn’t show up for the criminal trial, as a result of which the charges were dismissed. And then she didn’t show up for her civil trial in justice of the peace court, so that was dismissed too.

    We’ll see whether — or more likely, when — Mr. Trump, as Mr. Lewandowski’s lawyer, hangs him out to dry. There’s a spectacular inherent conflict of interest between them now.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  23. Bah, that ought to have read: “Mr. Trump, as Mr. Lewandowski’s employer, hangs him out to dry.”

    Beldar (fa637a)

  24. “Mr. Trump, as Mr. Lewandowski’s employer, hangs him out to dry.”

    Oh come on, when has Mr. Trump ever done that to anyone who trusted what he told them?

    Luke Stywalker (33f010)

  25. Cruz left me out to dry when he choose to side with Soros and racist black lives matter. And not Trumps freedom of speech.
    WTF, Cruz? Don’t make love to the booshes. They are lying losers.

    mg (31009b)

  26. I think Andrew Breitbart would be appalled at the direction the site has taken in its support of Trump, as well as the vile, unhinged support for Trump in the comments, which also means nasty abuse of those who do not support Trump.

    William Teach (bceeb2)

  27. Here’s an excerpt from Mike Cernovich’s 3/13/16 article at Danger & Play

    Here’s Why Several Journalists Got Caught in the Michelle Fields Media Hoax

    Consider how deep this media hoax goes.

    Michelle Fields, a “conservative,” fabricated a story with Ben Terris, a “liberal.”

    Jabin Botsford of the Washington Post lied about being at the event, and then hid evidence that would have exposed the hoax.

    Lloyd Grove of the liberal Daily Beast made up conversations to support Fields’ story.

    Ben Shapiro, a “conservative,” used these fabricated sources and false accusations to demand that a man lose his job.

    And everyone in the media kept running with the story, attacking skeptical readers like us. Moreover, a journalist who asked to see a video of the hoax was fired from his job.

    The media is rotten to the core. Can you believe anything you read?

    ropelight (b3812c)

  28. Teh Narrative™ is everywhere these days. So I appreciate the clarity to which Patterico, Beldar, and a couple of others have brought to this situation.

    Simon Jester (357f6d)

  29. Until this morning, Breitbart was my favorite website for the news. Even though they tilted for Trump, it was to their credit that they posted Shapiro’s opposition to Trump and evidence supporting Field’s version of the what happened. Unfortunately in the days that followed this story was quickly forgotten and buried as the website jumped back on the Trump bandwagon. The cartoonish, vile, and disgusting article the website posted this morning disparaging Shapiro’s resignation was the last straw. What is even more stomach churning is the pro-trump Trump virtual tongue-bath in the comments following this screed. It is profoundly disheartening to see people on the so-called “right” descend to the level of the Obama-bots. I will never link to the Breitbart news website again. I hope people who really knew this great man find a way to put his name to better use.

    Tony (ff2fe4)

  30. Gad. Breitbart management certainly isn’t taking this news with any class or grace as they use Breitbart’s widow in a shamefully manipulative manner:

    LOS ANGELES — Former Breitbart News editor-at-large Ben Shapiro announced Sunday evening via left-wing Buzzfeed that he is abandoning Andrew Breitbart’s lifelong best friend, widow, hand-picked management team and friends in pursuit of an elusive contributorship at the Fox News Channel.

    Friends of Hamas could not be found for comment.

    Who believes this is the legacy about which AB would have been proud?

    Dana (0ee61a)

  31. it makes you really grateful to have a job to go to this morning

    happyfeet (831175)

  32. Dana,

    Your link is 404’d.

    njrob (262ba2)

  33. Criminal assault is an attempted battery. The pathway to a battery. The standard is objective. The victim does not need to actually see it coming and be placed in apprehension that he was about to be battered. It is enough that any reasonable person who did see it would be. If you try to hit an unconscious person and are stopped or miss, you are still guilty of assault.

    Both assault and battery can be charged and a finding of guilty can be entered on both. Merger comes into play at sentencing. If the battery conviction, the more serious, contains all the elements of the assault conviction, the assault merges into the battery, and you should only be sentenced for the battery conviction.

    nk (dbc370)

  34. Huh. Perhaps Breitbart realized how bad that article made them look. But, if you search “ben shapiro”, you can see the article in the search results. It just goes to 404

    William Teach (bceeb2)

  35. I’ll just say that when it was pointed out that there are degrees of assault, including a misdemeanor level, it was easier to see how this was defined as “assault”.

    I guess jabbing someone in the chest with your index finger and telling them to get out of your sight or you will break their face in could be a criminal case, but very different from what we non-lawyers generally think of as an “assault”.

    MD in Philly (at the moment not in Philly) (f315c7)

  36. Free Republic has a post with the 404’d article, and it’s also posted elsewhere. I think the Friends of Hamas dig may be a reference to this Shapiro story from Feb 2013. If so,’s management has a long, bitter memory.

    It also sounds like management wants to sue Shapiro for breach of contract.

    My limited Internet skills suggest the response was posted 11 hours ago. I don’t know when they took it down, but not soon enough. Note to Don’t let Donald fool you. Saying what you think in the most immediate and hostile manner possible is not a good business model.

    DRJ (15874d)

  37.’s management has proven it is willing to discredit Fields and now we know it will attack Shapiro, too. The message to the troops is clear: “Don’t cross us.” I would not want to work for

    DRJ (15874d)

  38. Cruz left me out to dry when he choose to side with Soros and racist black lives matter. And not Trumps freedom of speech.
    WTF, Cruz? Don’t make love to the booshes. They are lying losers.

    mg (31009b) — 3/14/2016 @ 3:24 am

    His criticism logically should have been focused primarily on the disruptors – but he did in fact criticize them. But he and his advisers may have calculated that he can’t peel away any Trump supporters by only talking about the demonstrators. You have to think of the bottom line.

    Gerald A (945582)

  39. Stories like this are protected because we no longer have unbiased reporting. There only seems to be paid for biased reporting, by salesman not reporters or journalists. That is what’s at stake here!
    “The Cover UP” We live in a culture where What difference does TRUTH make! Truths are no longer significant. Truth becomes, made up lies, and the sheeple eat it up.

    IF CAMP TRUMP would have just apologized for the mistake this wouldn’t have been a story.

    BUT TRUMP can’t say he was wrong….. This is exactly what BO’s 8 years have been. Mistake after mistake without taking responsibility so that wrongs can be used to make rights!

    jrt for Cruz (bc7456)

  40. I’m reminded the last person who went so histrionic about something or other, Nadia naffe.

    narciso (732bc0)

  41. My guess is that none of the people who were duped by Fields and her Washington Post co-conspirators will admit it.

    jcurtis (00837a)

  42. If Trump can’t even handle these petty drama’s than what good will he be as a president.
    He is no different than Hillary or BO

    jrt for Cruz (bc7456)

  43. Thanks for finding that link, NJRob.

    Good grief. It sounds like something from Mean Girls. What is wrong at I am sad for what they are doing to Andrew Breitbart’s legacy.

    DRJ (15874d)

  44. Andrew Breitbart is dead. So should his company be put out to the pasture

    jrt for Cruz (bc7456)

  45. It’s Breitbart in name only. It behaves more like Gawker. Or like Trump. It’s got this guy, Milo Yiannopoulos, who is buddy-buddy with Vox Day, a second-rate science fiction hack, and whose shtick is militant misogyny to the extent of, and I am not exaggerating, college boys are better off dating gay guys than women.

    nk (dbc370)

  46. The internet may not be “forever,” but it is pretty close and Breitbart should know that.

    The piece reads either like a petty “the internet is wrong” tirade, OR as something that was intended to be parody. It should not have been published either way, as it is a demonstration of how Breitbart has become a cesspool.

    Nathaniel Wright (f74e42)

  47. Glad to be of assistance.

    Amazing how far that site has fallen. So many have gone off the deep end falling for the cult of personality.

    What I don’t understand is this delusional mindset where acknowledging any missteps is a sign of weakness and cannot be permitted. That’s a child’s belief.

    NJRob (a07d2e)

  48. Milo, punctures politically correct bubbles, sort of like gutfeld before he restyled himself as a Victorian gent.

    narciso (732bc0)

  49. This is none of Cruz’s doing and he needs to stay clear of the drama. Drama begets drama. Only Trump should comment on the story. Cruz’s comment should be NO COMMENT

    jrt for Cruz (bc7456)

  50. The ‘s admitted their employees would talk to republicans about the mercy killing of veterans, doc Brown wouldn’t listen, yet Rubio gives him credit, for the pathetic bill.

    narciso (732bc0)

  51. I don’t believe hecklers have First Amendment rights.
    Trump’s rhetoric legitimizes these pants-around-their-knees, Soros-and-foodstamp-fed, BLM and MoveOn loser. Bernie Sanders does more to marginalize when he treats them like an indulgent grandpa smiling on rambunctious children.
    They may be the mosquitoes but Trump is the swamp.

    nk (dbc370)

  52. Looks like Breitbart is beginning the Hate Fest against Shapiro.

    My opinion of Breitbart is shifting fast, and it wasn’t good before. A pack of scum.

    SPQR (a3a747)

  53. Mixed up my threads with 52.

    nk (dbc370)

  54. Jabin Botsford of the Washington Post lied about being at the event, and then hid evidence that would have exposed the hoax.

    Initially I was slow to suspect a hoax because how do you say something happened that didn’t happen in a crowded area with lots of media and cameras around? How many different parties would have to be participating in the hoax? But then it occurred to me that the only clear vantage point that would provide the clear video evidence was staked out by a Wapo cameraman who later denied being at the event. The Wapo reporter positioned himself on the other side of Fields to obscure the view of any cameras on that side of Fields, so both of her co-conspirators were Wapo so you don’t have to bring any new parties into the hoax. The expectation probably was that the Trump people would at least grab her arm that she was thrusting towards Trump with an unknown object in her hand and then she could pretend she was injured. It appears they were more gentle with her than she had hoped so Wapo couldn’t even get a snapshot of a wrist being grabbed that they could say was more forceful than it was. A picture of someone grabbing a wrist doesn’t show how hard the wrist is being grabbed so they could pretend it was a very violent grab that caused the bruising that was probably self-inflicted.

    jcurtis (00837a)

  55. Focus on the target, then again if it wasn’t for Schweitzer and judicial watch, how much of red queen’s perfidy would be known?

    narciso (732bc0)

  56. Jcurtis and ropelight have wrapped their entire bodies in tin foil.

    JD (f1ca56)

  57. If anything, Skeptical Gal’s video helps solidify the conclusion that it was Lewandowski who grabbed Fields.

    Which means he is lying.

    Patterico (86c8ed) — 3/14/2016 @ 12:29 am

    Exactly. People are saying “LOOK AT THE VIDEO SHE LIED” when I see that it only strengthens Fields case that Lewandoski grabbed her. They are focusing on the fact that she said she was yanked down and almost lost her balance- which she could conceivably feel happen and describe it that way.

    But they are admitting that it HAD to be Lewandoski grabbing her by saying that. The video shows he was next her her, her being pulled toward him, and her looking at him!

    Patrick Henry, the 2nd (ddead1)

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