Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields and editor-at-large Ben Shapiro have tendered their resignations to the management at Breitbart.com over the site’s handling of the Corey Lewandowski/Michelle Fields imbroglio, Rosie Gray and McKay Coppins of BuzzFeed News reported late Sunday night. And more resignations are likely in the coming days and weeks, according to their report.
Fields and Shapiro join Breitbart spokesman Kurt Bardella, who left the company on Friday, citing as his reason the website’s inadequate handling of Donald Trump’s campaign manager’s alleged assault on Fields last week.
Bardella told CNN’s Don Lemon on Saturday that he thought the website has been “looking for a reason to disprove something” even though the evidence strongly supports Fields’ version of the story. When Lemon asked Bardella if he thought Breitbart was lying, he bluntly answered, “Yes, I am.”
BuzzFeed reports that Fields and Shapiro informed Breitbart’s chairman, Steve Bannon, of their decisions 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.”
I can’t stand with an organization that won’t stand by me: https://t.co/pohxCKScpf
— Michelle Fields (@MichelleFields) March 14, 2016
In his own statement, Shapiro said the episode was emblematic of how he believes the site’s management has 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.”
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) March 14, 2016
On Saturday, Breitbart published an article that cast doubt on Fields’ story and Washington Post reporter Ben Terris’ first-hand account. Senior editor-at-large Joel Pollak wrote a frequently updated post originally titled “The Scrum: Video Emerges to Suggest WaPo Reporter Ben Terris Misidentifies Lewandowski in Fields Incident,” which was later changed when more video evidence emerged to “The Scrum: Video Shows Lewandowski Reaching in Michelle Fields’s Direction.”
Pollak ordered staffers to stop publicly defending Fields, and according to one source with knowledge of the situation, some staffers were “threatened with firing” after they publicly defended her.
— Katherine Miller (@katherinemiller) March 12, 2016
Andrew would absolutely loathe this https://t.co/fK61oiJYEU
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) March 12, 2016
“Both Lewandowski and Trump maligned Michelle in the most repulsive fashion,” Shapiro wrote in his resignation statement. “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.”
According to sources, an exodus of disgruntled Breitbart employees is likely in the coming days and weeks as “multiple staffers are searching for a way out of the company.”
See BuzzFeed for Shapiro’s full resignation statement.
Editor’s note: Michelle Fields is a former PJTV employee.