Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland, announced Saturday she will not appear at a conference alongside President Trump’s former strategist, Steve Bannon.
Sturgeon tweeted that while she believes passionately in free speech, she did not want to be “part of any process that risks legitimising or normalising far right, racist views."
[Also read: Bannon urges Hillary Clinton to challenge Trump in 2020: 'She can take a punch']
The email the BBC sent to my office justifying Bannon’s inclusion described him as a ‘powerful and influential figure...promoting an anti-elite movement.’ This kind of language to describe views that many would describe as fascist does seem to me to run the risk of normalisation.— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) October 20, 2018
She further criticized the BBC, one of the conference hosts, for attempting to normalize Bannon’s “fascist” views and defending his presence at the three-day News Xchange event in Edinburgh in an email sent to her office. The email called Bannon a “powerful and influential figure...promoting an anti-elite movement.”
Sturgeon was due to speak on the opening evening of the conference on Nov. 13, but Bannon was not expected to be present until a session the next morning. Bannon’s presence at public events has drawn criticism in the past too, and most recently got him disinvited from the New Yorker Festival in September after actor Jim Carrey, who was also invited to speak at the festival, took offense at Bannon's invite.
Bannon? And me? On the same program?— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) September 3, 2018
Could never happen.
According to the Guardian, the BBC claimed Bannon had been invited on behalf of the European Broadcasting Union’s News Xchange committee.
The group said Bannon was a “key influencer” in the rise of populism and added that they consider it a “journalistic responsibility to share and scrutinise a range of relevant viewpoints within the framework of a balanced debate."