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Steve Bannon dropped from New Yorker Festival after swift backlash

NEW YORK — The New Yorker Festival will no longer include magazine editor David Remnick interviewing former White House strategist Steve Bannon. Remnick rescinded Bannon's invitation hours after the announcement of his inclusion at the prestigious festival had led to swift backlash online.

In a note to staff, Remnick wrote that "there are better ways to do this" and that if the magazine interviewed Bannon in the future, it will be in a "more traditionally journalistic setting" and "not on stage." 

Several people who were supposed to take part in the festival, including comedian John Mulaney and filmmaker Judd Apatow, said they wouldn't attend if Bannon was there. Other prominent people, including Chelsea Clinton, tweeted that the event would be giving Bannon another platform for his ideas. New Yorker writer Kathryn Schulz tweeted that she was "beyond appalled" at Bannon's inclusion.

In his letter, Remnick said that the point of this type of "rigorous interview" is to "put pressure on the views of the person being questioned." He insisted to "interview him is not to endorse him." 

But Remnick said that he has realized there is a "better way to do this" and reconsidered the interview. He also acknowledged that festival guests, unlike those interviewed on radio or for a print story, are paid an honorarium, along with money for travel and lodging.

In a statement to CNBC, Bannon slammed The New Yorker. "In what I would call a defining moment, David Remnick showed he was gutless when he was confronted by the howling online mob," Bannon said.

This year's guests include Emily Blunt, Zadie Smith and Sally Yates, who Trump fired as deputy attorney general after she refused to back his initial ban on travelers from Muslim countries. The ban was advocated by Bannon, a senior White House adviser at the time.

Bannon told "60 Minutes" last year that he sees himself as a "streetfighter." 

"I think I'm a street fighter. And by the way, I think that's why Donald Trump and I get along so well. Donald Trump's a fighter. Great counter puncher. Great counter puncher. He's a fighter," Bannon said, adding that the media's portrayal of him as a "streetfighter" is "pretty accurate."  

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