Monday, 5 June 2017

Breitbart News Editor Says She Was Fired After Anti-Muslim Tweets

A screen shot of Katie McHugh’s Twitter page
A Breitbart News editor said on Monday that she was fired from the conservative news site for the anti-Muslim tweets she made after a terror attack in London on Saturday.

The editor, Katie McHugh, who has written hundreds of articles for the site since 2015 and previously worked for The Daily Caller, said on Twitter that “Breitbart News fired me for telling the truth about Islam and Muslim immigration.” A Breitbart News spokesman declined to comment on Monday, leaving the precise reason for her leaving the company unknown.

But Ms. McHugh said her dismissal from the news site was related to several tweets on Saturday that drew widespread attention, including a CNN report.

Shortly before 7 p.m. Saturday, Ms. McHugh tweeted: “There would be no deadly terror attacks in the U.K. if Muslims didn’t live there.”

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She further inflamed critics with her back-and-forth with the actor Pej Vahdat. After he replied to her tweet by saying, “You’re a real moron,” she responded, “You’re an Indian.” (Mr. Vahdat said he was Iranian-American.)

On a crowdfunding page that said it would be used to pay for Ms. McHugh’s medical bills and living costs during unemployment, she was unapologetic.

“I said nothing wrong,” she said. “As President Donald Trump says, if we don’t get smart, it will only get worse.”

Dismissing a writer for professing anti-Muslim beliefs might appear out of character for Breitbart News, an outlet that has often defended writers besieged by criticism from the political left on free speech grounds, considering them to be victims of political correctness.

But it was the second time this year a Breitbart employee had left the site after controversial comments. In February, Milo Yiannopoulos, one of Breitbart’s biggest stars who took glee in provoking liberals, resigned from the news site after his glib remarks about pedophilia.

The news organization, whose traffic spiked in the run-up to the presidential election, has looked to compete directly with more mainstream publications. It hired John Carney, an experienced reporter from The Wall Street Journal, in January to lead its finance and economics section, and has talked of international expansion.

The news site was denied congressional press credentials in April but is accredited by the White House.

Ms. McHugh directed a request for comment to Charles Johnson, who formerly worked at Breitbart News. He said Ms. McHugh worked closely with Stephen K. Bannon, the former chairman of the news organization who is now President Trump’s chief strategist, on a radio show.

He questioned why Ms. McHugh was targeted.

“Why was she singled out for criticism or punishment when Milo Yiannopoulos and others said far worse things and yet retained their jobs?” he said.

Though the news site has been seen as a leader of the far right, some prominent conservative commentators condemned the decision on Monday.

“Breitbart fired a journalist to appease fake news media,” Mike Cernovich tweeted.

“Whatever the reason for firing, Katie McHugh is a great reporter,” Ann Coulter tweeted.


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