Turmoil Continues at Breitbart Over Response to Alleged Assault of Reporter

Fox News’ Megyn Kelly interviewing Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields on Friday. Photo: Fox News

Speaking with Fox News’s Megyn Kelly on Friday, Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields responded to how her own website has been seeming to call into question whether or not she was correct about being assaulted on Tuesday by Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, noting that “I think the facts show that this happened and it’s a shame that my bosses have decided to come out against the facts.” She was referring to a post by Breitbart senior editor-at-large Joel Pollak making a case for why Lewandowski may not have been the one that assaulted Fields. As it turns out, Fields isn’t the only Breitbart staffer who is upset with how the website has been handling the story.

On Saturday, BuzzFeed’s Rosie Gray published screenshots she had obtained of internal Breitbart Slack chats that show Pollak ordering staffers to stop defending Fields or commenting on the dispute in any way. “STOP tweeting about the story. Stop speculating about the story,” Pollak said, according to the screenshots. The chats also show that at least three Breitbart staffers seemed upset and wanted to participate in defending Fields, but Pollak suggests that, while wanting to defend a colleague is commendable, “keep in mind that when you do so, you are also putting other colleagues under direct public pressure, so you are actually hurting some to help another.” Instead, Pollak called for abstention from staff and asked them to “wait for orders that are based on a careful plan.” 

Meanwhile, former Breitbart spokesman Kurt Bardella, who resigned this week over the website’s treatment of Fields, told CNN’s Don Lemon on Friday night that, in his opinion, Breitbart is now lying about the story, and that it’s because of the company’s support for Donald Trump’s candidacy:

They haven’t hidden this at all. They have been very supportive of the Trump campaign and I think there is a desire to want to believe the Trump campaign and want to believe the statement that Corey and Donald Trump have put out. I think when you’ve gone all-in so much for a candidate, when you have that kind of skin in the game, you don’t want to see that derailed.

In the meantime, Fields herself has filed charges with the police against Lewandowski, though she explained to Megyn Kelly on Friday that she would have brushed it all off if she’d just gotten an apology:

I didn’t want to do it. After this had happened, I called my editor [Matthew Boyle]. I told him what had happened. I didn’t want to file a police report. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it because, you know, I didn’t want to be all over the press, and I certainly was worried about my job. What would happen if I went to the police?

I told my editor, and he called Corey and he spoke to him, and Corey said that he did it. He did not deny it. He said that he didn’t realize that I was a Breitbart reporter. Hope Hicks, who is Donald Trump’s spokeswoman, asked for my cell phone number, and I was told that I was going to get an apology. So I waited on that. I didn’t want to make a big deal — this wasn’t going to be a big deal. They were going to apologize; we were going to move on.

I never got that apology. Instead, yesterday, they released a statement calling me a liar. They have basically done a character assassination on me. They are linking to blogs with conspiracies about me. They’re not telling the truth. There’s videos, there’s pictures, there’s an eyewitness of a Washington Post reporter who is very credible. They seem to not understand that. Their statements continue to say there’s no eyewitnesses, there’s no pictures, there’s no videos. They continue to lie.

Fields went onto say that Donald Trump had been her second choice in the GOP race, but now that she has heard him lie about the details pertaining to her assault, she would no longer be able to support him.

More Turmoil at Breitbart Over Assault Story