Steve Bannon dropped by New Yorker Festival after Judd Apatow, John Mulaney, Jim Carrey and others say they wouldn't attend

New Yorker staff members tweeted that editor-in-chief David Remnick sent an internal memo, saying that he’s “re-considered” and “changed my mind.”

                            Steve Bannon dropped by New Yorker Festival after Judd Apatow, John Mulaney, Jim Carrey and others say they wouldn't attend

The New Yorker Festival dropped its headlining guest, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, hours after announcing his name on Monday, after many panelists at the festival said they would pull out if he was invited.

New Yorker staff members tweeted that editor-in-chief David Remnick sent an internal memo, saying that he’s “re-considered” and “changed my mind.”

Later, Remnick released a statement explaining why annon had been invited and why the invitation was withdrawn following the backlash.

"I don’t want well-meaning readers and staff members to think that I’ve ignored their concerns," he said. "I’ve thought this through and talked to colleagues — and I’ve re-considered. 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."

"The main argument for not engaging someone like Bannon is that we are giving him a platform and that he will use it, unfiltered, to propel further the 'ideas' of white nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism and illiberalism," he said. "But to interview Bannon is not to endorse him. By conducting an interview with one of Trumpism’s leading creators and organizers, we are hardly pulling him out of obscurity. Ahead of the mid-term elections and with 2020 in sight, we’d be taking the opportunity to question someone who helped assemble Trumpism." 


The decision to have Bannon as a headliner during the upcoming New Yorker Festival drew sharp criticism from various public figures, including Judd Apatow and John Mulaney and Jim Carrey, who canceled their scheduled appearances at the event.



Jim Carrey followed suit shortly after, writing “Bannon? And me? On the same program? Could never happen.”

Meanwhile, writer Hari Kunzru tweeted that he heard that author Zadie Smith had withdrawn from the festival, musician Jack Antonoff said he wouldn't be performing or speaking at the festival if Bannon was there.



The New Yorker Festival, in its 19th year, is known for giving a platform to prominent figures across the political, literary and art worlds. This year’s event, scheduled between Oct 5 and Oct 7, is causing quite a stir as the publication raised quite a few eyebrows with their choice of Bannon as the headliner, who was supposed to sit down for a tete-a-tete with the magazine's editor, David Remnick.

Bannon was to appear alongside a wide range of guests, from author Haruki Murakami to activist Brittany Packnett to Parkland student and gun control advocate David Hogg, which makes Bannon's name stick out like a sore thumb on the roster. It’s been over a year since Bannon was ousted from the White House, although he’s never been far from the public eye, and today he’s trending on social media as the likes of  Chelsea Clinton and Ava DuVernay express their displeasure at  The New Yorker‘s invitation.

"For anyone who wonders what normalization of bigotry looks like, please look no further than Steve Bannon being invited by both @TheEconomist & @NewYorker to their respective events in #NYC a few weeks apart," the daughter of former president Bill Clinton tweeted.


Editor David Remnick had earlier defended the choice to add Bannon to the festival lineup by saying the event wouldn’t allow Bannon to “jump on and off the record.”

“I have every intention of asking him difficult questions and engaging in a serious and even combative conversation,” Remnick revealed to NYT in an interview. “The audience itself, by its presence, puts a certain pressure on a conversation that an interview alone doesn’t do.”

But the justification didn't spare The New Yorker from being at the receiving end of a barrage of critique from readers, some self-proclaimed soon-to-be-former readers, celebrities, political activists and even journalists from their own pool. That includes Pulitzer Prize-winning staff writer Kathryn Schulz who tweeted, “I love working for @NewYorker, but I’m beyond appalled by this” and suggested those who feel likewise should email the magazine. 


Bannon left the White House in August 2017, not long after white nationalists incited violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. After his work for President Donald Trump, Bannon focused his attention on getting Europe’s far-right parties more power in government positions. The sit-down with Remnick during the festival is billed as a conversation about "the ideology of Trumpism," but giving a platform to Bannon and his white nationalist views has generated a lot of backlash on the internet, with some pointing out that it's no different from booking ex-Grand Wizard of the KKK, David Duke.  Check out the barrage of reactions to the New Yorker's controversial decision below: