The announcement brought forth a series of racial controversies connected to Bannon for his identification as an “alt-right” nationalist. He’s been called racist, anti-Semitic and a white nationalist.
Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News, an ultra-conservative website, stepped down from his position to preside over Trump’s campaign in August.
While much attention has been brought to Bannon’s “alt-right” movement, he has a history that includes accusations of domestic violence and sexual harassment.
Here’s what you need to know about the allegations, which are from the 1990s:
1. In 1996, His Then-Wife Reported Domestic Violence
According to a Santa Monica police report obtained by Politico, police responded to a hang-up 911 call at Bannon’s home on New Year’s Day, 1996. When the police arrived to the home, Mary Louise Piccard answered the door. Piccard was married to Bannon at the time. According to the repot, she was crying and took several minutes to calm down and regain composure.
The police report noted that Bannon had slept on the couch the night prior. Allegedly Bannon became upset when Piccard asked for a credit card to buy groceries for their family, which included two twin baby girls. According to the report, Bannon said no and told her to “just write a check.”
The report stated:
He went out to the car and she followed. She asked him why he was playing these games with money, and he said it was his money. She told him maybe he should find another place to live that she wanted a divorce. Said he laughed at her, and said he would never move out.
At that point, the argument escalated and turned physical.
The police officer wrote:
[Piccard] said she spit at him, and [he] reached up to her from the driver’s seat of his car and grabbed her left wrist. He pulled her down, as if he was trying to pull into the car, over the door. [Piccard] said Mr. Bannon grabbed at neck, also pulling her into the car. She said that she started to fight back, striking at his face, so he would let go of her. After a short period of time she was able to get away from him.
Piccard went back inside the house where she attempted to call 911, but Bannon grabbed the phone from her and threw it across the room, she said.
The police officer reported red marks on her wrist and neck. Her injuries were photographed.
2. The Case Was Dropped
Bannon was charged with misdemeanor witness intimidation, domestic violence with traumatic injury and battery. He pleaded not guilty. However, the case was dropped when Piccard did not appear for trial.
The couple ultimately divorced.
When Politico found the report and published it in August 2016, Bannon told the news site he was never interviewed by the police about the incident.
3. Piccard Claimed She Was Threatened by Bannon Not to Testify
In court records obtained by the New York Times, Piccard later claimed that Bannon instructed her to leave town to avoid testifying.
She claimed Bannon said, “if I went to court he and his attorney would make sure that I would be the one who was guilty.”
According to the Times, Piccard said Bannon’s lawyer told her if he went to jail, she “would have no money and no way to support the children.”
Alexandra Preate, Bannon’s spokeswoman, defended Bannon when Politico resurfaced the police report.
“The bottom line is he has a great relationship with the twins, he has a great relationship with the ex-wife, he still supports them,” Preate told Politico.
4. Piccard Told the Police There Had Been Previous Incidents
Piccard told police that there had been three or four previous incidents where arguments turned physical.
The officer wrote in the report:
Her husband and father of the twins is Stephen Bannon. Mrs. Bannon said she has been seeing Mr. Bannon for approximately 6 1/2 years. In the beginning of their relationship, she said they [had] 3 or 4 arguments that became physical, and they have been going to counseling. There has not been any physical abuse in their arguments for about the past 4 years. Mrs. Bannon said they have been arguing a lot, but not violence.
5. He Was Accused of Sexual Harassment By an Employee in the ’90s
As Buzzfeed reported in August, Bannon was at the center of a lawsuit in relation to his position as director of Biosphere 2, a research facility located in Arizona.
Bannon and an associate were accused of making sexually suggestive remarks and lewd remarks toward the former director of the project, Margret Augustine. She claimed they had disparaged other female employees of the research facility as well.
Augustine said, “Both Bowen and Bannon were insulting to the plaintiff and other females employees of Biosphere 2, and in their presence, and against their will, made lewd remarks, told offensive off-color stories, made disparaging remarks about females, made sexually suggestive remarks, discussed females they had known in a lewd and derogatory fashion and in general acted with total indifference to the feelings of the plaintiff and other female employees of Biosphere 2.”
She detailed several occasions where she felt uncomfortable with Bannon’s sexually charged comments, including a company party where she danced with him. Augustine said he “held my wrist tightly and told me that once I’d done it with him I’d never want to do it with anyone else.”
According to Buzzfeed, the sexual harassment count, along with the counter-suit against Augustine, was ultimately settled.
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