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Steve Bannon Steps Down From Breitbart to Spend More Time With Bottle of Gin

Throughout Donald Trump’s unexpected ascendancy from walking punchline to walking punchline with nuke codes, political strategist and oily sack of potatoes discovered in the back of the cupboard on moving day Steve Bannon was one of the president’s most trusted and influential advisers.

Of course, Trump aides have proven to have roughly the same shelf life as Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers at Hogwarts, so it came as no surprise when Bannon was booted from the White House back in August.

What followed, however, was an unexpectedly abrupt downfall befitting a man who once favorably compared himself to Darth Vader and Satan.

Bannon delivered that quote to The Hollywood Reporter’s Michael Wolff, who’s made headlines this week thanks to his controversial book Fire and Fury, which details his experiences inside the Trump White House.

In the most widely-circulated passage, Wolff reveals that Bannon described a 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and group of influential Russians as “treasonous.”

Bannon later attempted to walk back his remark, claiming that he only meant to label disgraced campaign manager Manafort as a traitor, not the president’s son.

However, the damage had been done, and Bannon soon found himself atop the Donald’s ever-lengthening sh-t list.

Of course, falling out of favor with the human throbbing forehead vein that occupies the White House means that Bannon has also lost the support of his army of alt-right trolls, and the race to cut ties with the man once dubbed the most powerful figure in American politcs began in earnest this week.

Yesterday, Bannon was unceremoniously axed from his position as head of far-right media outlet Breitbart News.

“Breitbart News has decided to end its relationship with Stephen K. Bannon, therefore he will no longer host on SiriusXM since our programming agreement is with Breitbart News,” reads a statement posted on the company’s flagship website.

Bannon attemptes to downplay the termination and paint it as a mutual decision, but there’s no denying that it’s a socking fall from grace for a man who was frequently referred to as “President Bannon” just a few short months ago.”

“I’m proud of what the Breitbart team has accomplished in so short a period of time,” Bannon said in response to his dismissal.

The move came as a surprise even to many within Breitbart, who reportedly learned of Bannon’s departure in the company’s Slack chat.

As recently as last month, the company was still publicly praiaing Bannon’s influence on modern conservatism and crediting him with helping to shape the 2016 presidential election via as host of his own satellite radio show.

“As I have said all along, everything I brought to the Trump campaign came directly from the listeners I spoke with every morning on Breitbart News Daily on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel,” Bannon said at the time.

A spokesperson for Breitbart has confirmed that Bannon will no longer serve as host of the outler’s popular call-in show.

No replacement has been announced, but at press time, the racist blowhard who’s always drinking alone at your local dive bar was still available for the position.

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Mario Batali: Celebrity Chef Accused of Sexual Misconduct, Steps Down

Mario Batali is famous for his work as a chef, for his television appearances, and for his signature look.

And now his name goes on the long, long list of powerful men accused of sexual misconduct.

Batali has issued an apology and announced that he is stepping back from his restaurants and television work.

You don’t have to be someone who cares about celebrity chefs to at least vaguely recognize the name Mario Batali.

He’s a chef, a restaurateur, and also a television personality.

He has the sort of classical culinary training that one would expect from a chef.

But he is also considered an expert on the history of Italian cuisine. 

Mario Batali owns or co-owns restaurants in major cities across the US and also spanning the globe.

He’s had a Food Network series and has also acted as a guest and cohost on other shows related to his area of expertise.

Batali is perhaps most recognizable for his signature look, which features a fleece vest, shorts, and then either orange crocs or, in more recent appearances, Adidas Yeezy footwear.

Unfortunately, you know the drill, folks: it sounds like there was a side of Batali that the public never saw.

Four women have come forward and accused him of sexual misconduct.

Eater New York reports that they interviewed dozens of people who’ve worked with Mario Batali over the years in order to confirm the accusations against him.

What they found does not paint a pretty picture.

One woman said that Batali “grabbed both of my breasts” while at a party.

Another accused the celebrity chef of “put his hand on half of my butt and he squeezed it.”

These examples are on top of a described pattern of inappropriate behavior, which included frequently using innuendo in the workplace.

The accusations include asking questions about the sex lives of his female employees and also asking about their underwear.

(Gross!)

The list of jobs in which asking about a woman’s underwear or sex life are appropriate is very, very short.

It’s mostly just certain types of modeling and certain types of sex work.

The list of jobs in which it’s okay to grab a woman’s butt or breasts without her permission is even shorter, at exactly zero.

The public expects some bad behavior from chefs — prima donna nonsense, flaring tempers, storming out and breaking dishes. None of that’s acceptable, but some people think that they have to put up with it if they want a “genius” chef.

(Note: if an artistic genius of any kind is acting like that as an adult, they’re a genius and a dickbag; you don’t have to put up with nonsense to get fancy food)

The Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group has announced that Batali has agreed to step away from his businesses — including restaurants and TV appearances (though the TV part had already been decided by ABC and others).

Batali has issued an apology:

“I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt.”

That starts off vague, but he does more or less admit to the allegations.

“Although the identities of most of the individuals mentioned in these stories have not been revealed to me, much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted.”

When you compare that to Al Franken’s resignation statement or Matt Lauer’s “apology,” Batali appears to be owning his behavior better than many of those who were named before him.

“That behavior was wrong and there are no excuses.”

Agreed.

“I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for any pain, humiliation or discomfort I have caused to my peers, employees, customers, friends, and family.”

While no apology magically undoes wrongdoings as serious as Batali’s, a good apology is still nice to hear.

Eater New York reports that they interviewed dozens of people who’ve worked with Mario Batali over the years in order to confirm the accusations against him.

What they found does not paint a pretty picture.


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Russell Simmons Steps Down After Second Sexual Assault Accusation

Remember the controversy and boycott of Russell Simmons over the Harriet Tubman “sex tape” comedy skit? That is nothing beside the accusations of sexual assault that Simmons now faces.

His second accuser, screenwriter Jenny Lumet, has written in extensive detail about what she says that Simmons did to her. It sounds like sexual assault. It also sounds like kidnapping.

Russell Simmons’ response has been to step down from his businesses.

Russell Simmons is a music mogul. 

When, on November 19th, model Keri Claussen Khalighi accused him of sexual assault and harassment when she was only 17 years old.

At the time of the accusation, Russell Simmons denied it, saying that such behavior was something that he wholeheartedly opposed.

That denial clearly loomed large in the mind of Jenny Lumet.

Writing in The Hollywood Reporter, Jenny Lumet describes a sexual assault by Russell Simmons after they had known each other for years.

In the form of an open letter directed at Simmons, she describes how the two of them met in 1987 and remained in the same social circles for years.

“You pursued me, lightly, on and off, over a course of years, saying you had a thing for a “little yellow girl” (me). I rebuffed. It wasn’t deep, as far as I knew. It was never a big deal. You had, I assumed, many women in your orbit.”

The incident in question, she says, happened “circa 1991,” when she was around 24. She remembers a lot of very specific details about how she was dressed, why she was at the restaurant where she ate, and what the weather was like.

(Traumatic memories can often include a lot of sensory details, no matter how badly the person wants to forget)

“You had a car and a driver that evening. Sometime later, you offered me a ride to my home. I said, ‘Sure.’ During the making of the RUN DMC movie, I had been in vans with you and other crew members. I don’t recall having accepted a ride home alone with you before that night.”

And, in case it’s stating the obvious, she was only accepting a ride home. Nothing more.

“At no time that night did I say: ‘Russell, I will go home with you,’ or ‘Come home with me,’ or ‘I will have sex with you’ or ‘I have the desire to have sex with you.'”

And … this is when the story starts to get scary.

“I got into the car with you. The driver began to drive. I assumed you knew where I lived, because you had sent me 250 balloons, but I gave the driver my address on 19th Street and 2nd Avenue.”

She refers to a gift, which she found funny at the time, of many balloons.

“You said to the driver: ‘No.’ I didn’t understand, so I said: ‘Russell?’ I said, again, to the driver: ’19th Street.’ Again you said to the driver: ‘No.'”

That is absolutely chilling.

“Then the car doors locked. It was loud. The noise made me jump.”

Any noise can evoke that response when your fear response kicks in.

“I didn’t recognize you at that moment. It was disorienting. It was disorienting. I say it twice now because you said ‘No’ twice then.”

“I couldn’t open the doors. I couldn’t open the windows. The car was moving. The driver did not stop. He did not take me to 19th Street. He took me to your apartment.”

Even if the legal system can’t hold anyone accountable for this nightmare of a 1991 evening, we can’t help but wonder what became of this driver who is also described as an accomplice.

“I didn’t try to kick the windows out. I didn’t punch or kick. I didn’t say, ‘What are you doing?’ My voice left me after the second ‘No.'”

This is a survival mechanism. People talk about fight-or-flight, but still and silent is another reaction to danger.

“I felt dread and disorientation. I wanted to go home. I said I wanted to go home. I didn’t recognize the man next to me. I didn’t know if the situation would turn violent.”

This is why so many survivors of sexual assault don’t try to fight back. They don’t want to make a bad situation worse. They don’t want to die.

“I remember thinking that I must be crazy. I remember hoping that the Russell I knew would return any moment.”

She speaks of Simmons and his driver both maneuvering her into what may have been a private entrance to his room.

“You didn’t punch me, drag me, or verbally threaten me. You used your size to maneuver me, quickly, into the elevator. I said, ‘Wait. Wait.'”

We can only imagine her terror in those moments.

“I felt dread. I was very, very sad. I didn’t know if the driver was a further threat, or an ally. I was both relieved and terrified when he did not get into the elevator. Alone in the elevator, you pressed me into the corner with your body, your hands, and your mouth.”

Disgusting.

“The elevator did not stop on the way up to your apartment. I was moved very quickly inside. I recall hearing the apartment door closing behind us.”

And this is where it escalates even further.

“You moved me into a bedroom. I said, ‘Wait.’ You said nothing. I made the trade in my mind. I thought, ‘Just keep him calm, and you’ll get home.’ Maybe another person would have thought differently, or not made the trade.”

Do you risk your life or do you just try to get out alive? There are no good options.

“It was dark but not pitch-dark. You closed the door. At that point, I simply did what I was told.”

And there are some details from the alleged assault, which she describes:

“There was penetration. At one point you were only semi-erect and appeared frustrated. Angry? I remember being afraid that you would deem that my fault and become violent. I did not know if you were angry, but I was afraid that you were.”

And further details, though it’s clear that at the forefront of her mind was fear.

“You told me to turn over on my stomach. You said something about a part of my body. You did not ejaculate inside me.”

She was able to leave after that and she took a taxi.

She did not tell anyone, and even saw him again — they had many mutual friends — for years afterwards. She says that she told a childhood friend in October, after the Weinstein scandal was really catching attention.

Russell Simmons has announced that he’s stepping back from his businesses. He says:

“While her memory of that evening is very different from mine, it is now clear to me that her feelings of fear and intimidation are real.”

if we hadn’t just read Jenny Lumet’s words, we might be tempted to applaud Russell Simmons for acknowledging her feelings.

But, no, not after what we just read. We can only imagine how difficult it was for Jenny to come forward, even with the cultural movement towards exposing predators.

Russell Simmons is a 60-year-old man whose net worth is something in the neighborhood of $ 350 million. Stepping back from his businesses, now, isn’t some sort of self-imposed punishment.

It’s retirement.

We don’t know how many more women will come forward with similar accusations towards Russell Simmons. Perhaps some will remain silent, satisfied that he’s acknowledged something. It’s not easy to relive your pain.

But, based upon Lumet’s allegations, based upon her story of a driver who apparently already knew what to do in order to usher her to the elevator … we would not be surprised if other women come forward with their memories.

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