DES MOINES, IA - JANUARY 24: Businessman Donald Trump speaks to guests at the Iowa Freedom Summit on January 24, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. The summit is hosting a group of potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates to discuss core conservative principles ahead of the January 2016 Iowa Caucuses. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Photo: Scott Olson
Photo: Scott Olson

Breitbart News apologizes for sarcastic story after Trump controversy prompts resignations

A popular conservative news website issued an apology Monday after publishing a sarcastic story to announce its editor-at-large's resignation over objections to the handling of recent Donald Trump controversy.

A story headlined “Ben Shapiro Betrays Loyal Breitbart Readers in Pursuit of Fox News Contributorship,” appeared on Breitbart News Monday morning. In it, the news organization said Shapiro, who tendered his resignation as its editor-at-large Sunday, was “abandoning” all that his mentor, conservative icon and Breitbart News founder Andrew Breitbart, had worked for.

“Friends of Hamas could not be found for comment,” the report said.

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The site also criticized BuzzFeed News as an inherently anti-Breitbart News organization with trivial reporting. BuzzFeed was the first to report on Shapiro and reporter Michelle Fields' resignations.

“The story ran next to a photograph of a baby snake hatching from its shell, apparently for emphasis,” the Breitbart report said.

It did not mention Fields' resignation.

The story was taken down early Monday and later replaced with a statement from Joel Pollak, Breitbart News' in-house counsel and editor-at-large.

He said the earlier story went up “as a result of a misunderstanding without going through the normal editorial channels.”

“The article was written by me as part of an effort to make light of a significant company event,” he said. “I apologize to Michelle Fields, my friend Ben Shapiro, and to everyone concerned.”

Fields was working as a national political reporter for Breibart News when she said she was bruised by Trump's presidential campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, during a confrontation after a news conference in Jupiter, Florida on March 8.

Based on video of the alleged incident, Breitbart News published a story that suggested Fields misidentified the person who attacked her, according to Politico. The conservative site updated its story after additional footage showed Lewandowski reaching toward Fields.

Both Fields and Shapiro cited Breitbart News' refusal to stand behind Fields as their reasons for leaving.

The Jupiter Police Department is investigating the case as a simple battery, a misdemeanor.

Trump has implied Fields may have made up the confrontation.

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