Four Breitbart journalists quit after alleged Trump rally assault

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski speaks with an unidentified aide after a demonstrator was detained at a rally at the Dayton International Airport in Dayton, Ohio March 12, 2016. REUTERS/William Philpott

(Reuters) - Two reporters and two editors from Breitbart News resigned to protest how the conservative website handled an alleged assault last week on one of the reporters by a senior aide to Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump.

Reporter Michelle Fields filed a criminal complaint on Friday against Trump’s 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 sparked 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 report on Saturday on the BuzzFeed news website, 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 said in an emailed statement late on Monday, “Breitbart News thanks Kurt, Ben, and Michelle for their work for us. We wish each of them the best in their future endeavors.” He was referring to Kurt Bardella, who resigned as Breitbart’s spokesman last week.

The alleged assault on Fields took place days before a series of clashes between supporters of Trump, the front-runner to be the Republican presidential candidate 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.

Additional reporting by Gina Cherelus and Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Frances Kerry and Jonathan Oatis