When now former editor-at-large Ben Shapiro joined with five other employees to resign from Breitbart News, he referred to chairman Steve Bannon as “a bully.”
In the wake of the controversy over Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who allegedly manhandled reporter Michelle Fields, one of the six staffers to resign, the company is getting litigious.
Politico reported on Tuesday that multiple sources have said Breitbart sent out cease and desist letters to some of those who left the company, which is a follow-up to an internal communication directing writers to stop defending Fields.
Breitbart sends 'cease and desist' letters to former staffers https://t.co/lZhK8nDOry
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) March 15, 2016
According to BuzzFeed, senior editor-at-large Joel Pollak reminded staff that “you were given explicit instructions” as he directed them to “STOP tweeting about the story. Stop speculating about the story.”
The cease and desist letters are a likely result of non-disparagement clauses many Breitbart employees reportedly have agreed to.
A non-disparagement clause is a contract requiring parties to agree not to make negative statements about the other and is a common practice many businesses employ to protect themselves from disgruntled employees.
The “pro-Trump” website continues to take a beating over the Fields controversy, with the irony not lost on social media users that Andrew Breitbart always fought for free expression. It seems that the news outlet’s fate is now indelibly linked to that of Republican front-runner Trump.
Overall, the reaction on social media was mixed; here’s a sampling of responses from Twitter:
@ZekeJMiller I realize that every single person or entity that supports TRUMp is being viciously attacked for having an opinion! Scary shit
— amanda pergola (@amperg33) March 15, 2016
@ZekeJMiller Bully! Just like Trump would
— Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) March 15, 2016
— Christa Cooper (@MissMarple2) March 15, 2016
@ZekeJMiller As Andrew rolls over in his grave.
— Michael Dorstewitz (@MikeBPR) March 16, 2016
— Bill Hibbs (@BiHiRiverOfLife) March 15, 2016
@ZekeJMiller Andrew Breitbart’s legacy has been shamed by Bannon & group . Andrew would not have needed to send ‘cease&desist’ letters.
— Deb.AsAMom (@Debavellan) March 16, 2016
— KevinR (@KevRolfe) March 15, 2016
— Schnauzerdaddy (@bilgewarning) March 15, 2016
Class acts. Just pure class all over the place here. https://t.co/juhp2hBBbl
— Josh Colletta (@TheRadioDude) March 15, 2016
— #NeverTrump Tabitha (@Tab1791) March 16, 2016
— Popehat (@Popehat) March 15, 2016
— Alan Levy, Esq (@alanesque) March 15, 2016
— Mike Cameron #LNYHBT (@bigmac1011) March 15, 2016