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.com:
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.”
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.