Breitbart Reporter Resigns After Being Allegedly Assaulted at Trump Rally
Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields has resigned from the conservative news site after it failed to come to her defense when she was allegedly assaulted by Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski at a rally.
According to the police report filed by Fields, the incident took place in Jupiter, Florida on March 8 at 115 Eagle Tree Terrace (Trump National).
In a Breitbart post that begins with the words “I never meant to be part of the story,” Fields recounts her version of the incident writing,
I wasn’t called upon to ask a question during the televised press conference, but afterwards Trump wandered around, stopping at every reporter to take their questions. When he approached me, I asked him about his view on an aspect of affirmative action.
Trump acknowledged the question, but before he could answer I was jolted backwards. Someone had grabbed me tightly by the arm and yanked me down. I almost fell to the ground, but was able to maintain my balance. Nonetheless, I was shaken.
According to Fields, Washington Post reporter Ben Terris witnessed the assault first hand and confirmed that it was in fact Lewandowski who grabbed her.
Politico was able to obtain an exclusive audio recording and transcript of the exchange, where Terris asks Fields if she’s ok. Later on she says, “That was insane. You should have felt how hard he grabbed me. That’s insane. I’ve never had anyone do that to me from a campaign.”
For added proof, Fields posted the following photo of her fingerprint-sized bruises on her arm to her Twitter tagging Lewandowski.
— Michelle Fields (@MichelleFields) March 10, 2016
Lewandowski wasted no time denying grabbing her, and accused Fields of having a history of falsely accusing men of assaults on Twitter.
Michelle Fields is an attention seeker who once claimed Allen West groped her but later went silent. https://t.co/J86Ej42eYx
— Corey Lewandowski (@CLewandowski_) March 10, 2016
As one of dozens of individuals present as Mr. Trump exited the press conference, I did not witness any encounter. In addition to our staff, which had no knowledge of said situation, not a single camera or reporter of more than 100 in attendance capture the alleged incident
She then added,
This individual has never met Corey, nor had the only reporter that supposedly identified him. There are often large crowds aggressively seeking access to Mr. Trump and our staff would never do anything to harm another individual, while at the same time understanding that Mr. Trump and his personal space should never be invaded.
The most disturbing part of the scandal was the fact that Breitbart didn’t even back its own reporter during all of this.
Even though the ultra-conservative site has showered Trump with support throughout his campaign, it still has a responsibility to defend its employees. Instead it told staffers to stop tweeting and publicly supporting her, then “tepidly” asked for an apology.
Fields told the Washington Post,
I would have liked for [Breitbart] to believe me, believe the eyewitness. I think they were more concerned about preserving their access to Trump than they were about finding out the truth.
Fields handed in her resignation Sunday night.
That same night Brietbart editor-at-large Ben Shapiro followed suit in solidarity.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) March 14, 2016
Shapiro said in a statement,
Andrew [Breitbart] built his life and his career on one mission: fight the bullies. But Andrew’s life mission has been betrayed. 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. I spoke with Michelle the night after the incident. She told me her story. That story was backed by audiotape, eyewitness testimony from The Washington Post’s Ben Terris, physical bruises, and video tape.
Shapiro drove the point even further adding,
This is disgusting. Andrew never would have stood for it. No news outlet would stand for it.
Shapiro’s full statement can be read here.
Prior to Fields and Shapiro’s departures, Breitbart’s spokesman and publicist Kurt Bardella resigned from the account, citing the Trump incident in part.
When you reach a point where you can’t give 100% to people you represent it’s not tenable to continue representing them.
— Kurt Bardella (@kurtbardella) March 11, 2016
On Monday, more employees began to jump ship, claiming that they could no longer support the news organization if it didn’t support its own staff.
Still, the the scandal is indicative of a larger trend of violence associated with the Trump campaign. There have been several reports of people being punched, choked, and slammed at his rallies. Trump’s antagonistic rhetoric only helps to fuel the flames. The candidate condoned one protestor getting attacked saying,
Maybe he [the protestor] should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.
This could be our next president.