A reporter for the conservative news website Breitbart and one of its top editors have resigned over what they say is the site's reaction to the reporter's dispute with Donald Trump's presidential campaign.
Michelle Fields tweeted word of her move early Monday after telling BuzzfeedNews:
I can't stand with an organization that won't stand by me: https://t.co/pohxCKScpf— Michelle Fields (@MichelleFields) March 14, 2016
So did Breitbart Editor at Large Ben Shapiro:
The continuing controversy over the Fields incident comes amid growing violence at Trump campaign events.
BuzzFeedNews says Fields and Shapiro let Breitbart News Chairman Steve Bannon know Sunday night that they were quitting.
In a statement BuzzFeedNews got from Fields, she said, "Today I informed the management at Breitbart News of my immediate resignation. 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."
Shapiro also sent BuzzFeed a statement asserting that, as BuzzFeedNews put it, the "episode was emblematic of how he believes the site's management had sold out the legacy of its founder and namesake, the late Andrew Breitbart."
In his statement, Shapiro said, "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."
Fields filed a police report with the Jupiter, Florida department Friday claiming she was battered after a news conference given there by Trump, the Republican front-runner.
A Jupiter police spokesperson, officer Adam Brown, released a heavily redacted copy of the report, saying specific details were confidential as part of an ongoing investigation.
On the Breitbart website, Fields has said she was forcibly grabbed by the arm and yanked as she tried to interview Trump after the Tuesday night news conference while Trump mingled with reporters. She posted photos of her bruised arm.
Originally, Breitbart and The Washington Post reported that the 28-year-old reporter was grabbed by Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski.
The Post stood by its story on its website Friday, but Breitbart backed away. It posted a story saying video shows the "likeliest explanation" is that Fields was accosted by a security officer who was next to Trump and Lewandowski. Trump is protected at events by both Secret Service agents and private security guards.
"Given the similarity in appearance between Lewandowski and the security official, and given the fact that Lewandowski was walking on the other side of Trump from where Fields was at the time, the possibility of mistaken identity cannot be ruled out," Breitbart reporter Joel B. Pollak wrote on the website.
In an interview with "The Kelly File" on Fox News that was scheduled to air Friday night, Fields stuck by her story.
Trump and his campaign have vehemently denied Lewandowski grabbed Fields.
Campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks described the accusation as "entirely false."
"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 captured the alleged incident," she said in a statement.