Four Breitbart journalists quit after alleged assault at Trump rally

Two reporters and two editors from Breitbart News have resigned in protest at how the conservative website handled an alleged assault last week on one of the reporters by a senior aide to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Incident sparks infighting at Breitbart as journalists accuse management of kowtowing to Trump campaign

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, right, walks with his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski after speaking at a news conference in Dubuque, Iowa in August 2015. Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields, who said that she was grabbed by Lewandowski as she attempted to question Trump in Florida on March 8, 2016. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)

Two reporters and two editors from Breitbart News have resigned in protest at how the conservative website handled an alleged assault last week on one of the reporters by a senior aide to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Reporter Michelle Fields filed a criminal complaint on Friday against Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, saying he grabbed her arm at a rally on March 8 in Florida with such force that he left bruises. Lewandowski and Trump have denied the accusation.

The incident generated a spat at Breitbart, with journalists accusing management of kowtowing to the Trump campaign.

Breitbart published an account on Friday of the incident that raised questions over Fields' version of events and suggested it was not Lewandowski who grabbed her. According to a BuzzFeed report on Saturday, Breitbart senior editor-at-large Joel Pollak also ordered staffers in an internal chatroom to stop defending Fields.

Fields and editor-at-large Ben Shapiro resigned in response to that late on Sunday. National security correspondent Jordan Schachtel and editor Jarrett Stepman resigned on Monday, according to a letter by them that was posted to Twitter, in which they accused the news site of becoming a propaganda arm for the Trump campaign. 

Breitbart News Chief Executive Larry Solov did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.

The alleged assault on Fields took place days before a series of clashes between supporters of Trump, front-runner to be the Republican presidential nominee in November's election, and protesters at campaign rallies.

The allegations were being investigated, a spokesman for the Jupiter, Florida police department said on Monday. No charges have been filed, he said.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.