FILE - In this Aug. 19, 2018 file photo, Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump's former chief strategist, talks about the approaching midterm election during an interview in Washington. Bannon’s invitation to speak at a festival hosted by The Economist is still on.
The newspaper announced Tuesday, Sept. 4, that Bannon would be speaking, as scheduled, during The Economist’s “Open Future” gathering later this month. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Steve Bannon still expected to speak at Economist festival

September 04, 2018 - 1:56 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Steve Bannon's invitation to speak at a festival hosted by The Economist is still on.

The magazine announced Tuesday that Bannon would be speaking, as scheduled, during The Economist's "Open Future" gathering later this month. He will be interviewed Sept. 15 in New York by Editor-In-Chief Zanny Minton Beddoes.

On Monday, New Yorker Editor David Remnick withdrew an invitation for Bannon to speak at the magazine's festival next month after facing widespread criticism. Beddoes said in a statement that she was deeply troubled by Bannon's far right stances, but believed a free exchange of ideas was more important.

"Mr. Bannon stands for a world view that is antithetical to the liberal values The Economist has always espoused. We asked him to take part because his populist nationalism is of grave consequence in today's politics. He helped propel Donald Trump to the White House and he is advising the populist far right in several European countries where they are close to power or in government. Worryingly large numbers of people are drawn to nativist nationalism. And Mr. Bannon is one of its chief proponents," she wrote.

"The future of open societies will not be secured by like-minded people speaking to each other in an echo chamber, but by subjecting ideas and individuals from all sides to rigorous questioning and debate. This will expose bigotry and prejudice, just as it will reaffirm and refresh liberalism. That is the premise The Economist was founded on."

A couple of "Open Future" speakers already have dropped out because of Bannon. Ally Fogg of The Guardian tweeted that he would not be attending and British writer Laurie Penny tweeted that she "cannot in good conscience appear at an event which chooses to dignify a neo-nationalist like Steve Bannon."

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