Michelle Fields is gone. Ben Shapiro is gone. Breitbart is in turmoil. And it's all because of Donald Trump...or at least what was alleged at one of his rallies.
At 12 AM Monday morning, Michelle Fields, the Breitbart reporter who has accused Donald Trump’s campaign manager of assault, and filed police charges regarding the incident, resigned her position at the site. Her resignation was submitted aside the resignation of Breitbart Editor-at-Large Ben Shapiro, who has been a full-throated defender of Fields.
The resignations were first reported by BuzzFeed.
The chapter is a dark one for the namesake of the late Andrew Breitbart. Shapiro writes in his resignation letter, “Breitbart News, under the chairmanship of Steve Bannon, has put a stake through the heart of Andrew’s legacy.”
Shapiro continues ripping into what he characterizes as the Breitbart policy of ostensibly abandoning Fields and bowing to Trump's narrative over that of their own reporter:
Both Lewandowski and Trump maligned Michelle in the most repulsive fashion. Meanwhile, Breitbart News not only stood by and did nothing outside of tepidly asking for an apology, they then attempted to abandon Michelle by silencing staff from tweeting or talking about the issue. Finally, in the ultimate indignity, they undermined Michelle completely by running a poorly-evidenced conspiracy theory as their lead story in which Michelle and Terris had somehow misidentified Lewandowski.
The person silencing staff from defending Fields was Breitbart senior Editor-at-Large, Joel Pollak. Parts of Pollak's policy toward Fields were brought to light in leaked internal messages, published by BuzzFeed.
Now, new internal company (Slack) messages obtained by Independent Journal Review show the level of chaos the Fields assault claim caused inside the editorial circles at Breitbart. In an unbroken, 40-minute exchange with his writers, Pollak can be seen in a heated discussion with his team over how the Fields situation was to be handled.
The chain begins with Breitbart Senior Editor-at-Large John Nolte messaging the editorial team the photo of Michelle Fields' bruised arm after Lewandowski had allegedly manhandled it.
Pollak immediately orders editors and writers not to “retweet or respond” to the Fields tweet, with deep protest from reporter Frances Martel.
Both Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby and National Security reporter Jordan Schachtel openly revolt against Pollak on the “silence on Fields” policy.
Darby says he is ashamed, and Martel asks if there is a plan:
Pollak responds that even supportive statements about Fields will be “used against us.”
Pollak refuses to let reporter Lee Stranahan tweet a photo of Trump as Hitler and says the entire situation is “the Trump campaign's problem.”
Darby asks what he can do to help Fields; Pollak says Trump has not responded, so nothing.
Mike Flynn, Editor of Breitbart News, adds that this is “Not a profile in courage moment.”
This thread ends with Pollak admitting that Trump's campaign manager is smearing his reporter, but Pollak says he will not be responding personally, because he believes Lewandowski is already “hanging himself.”
Editor’s Note: This post was updated for clarity after publishing.