Washed-up former White House chief strategist and felony fraud defendant Steve Bannon isn’t taking Donald Trump’s increasingly certain ouster from the presidency well. In an episode of his interminable WAR ROOM: Pandemic podcast on Thursday, he called for the nation’s top infectious disease official and the director of the FBI to be murdered and for their bodies to be displayed as a signal to any other real or imagined dissenters.
“Second term kicks off with firing Wray, firing Fauci,” Bannon said, referring to a theoretically possible timeline that sucks. “Now I actually want to go a step farther but I realize the president is a kind-hearted man and a good man.”
“I’d actually like to go back to the old times of Tudor England. I’d put the heads on pikes, right, I’d put them at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats,” Bannon added. “You either get with the program or you’re gone—time to stop playing games. Blow it all up, put [Trump campaign official] Ric Grenell today as the interim head of the FBI. That’ll light them up, right?”
“You know what Steve, just yesterday there was the anniversary of the hanging of two Tories in Philadelphia. These were Quaker businessmen who had cohabitated, if you will, with the British while they were occupying Philadelphia,” co-host Jack Maxey responded. “These people were hung. This is what we used to do to traitors.”
“That’s how you won the revolution,” Bannon concluded. “No one wants to talk about it. The revolution wasn’t some sort of garden party, right? It was a civil war. It was a civil war.”
Twitter promptly banned the podcast’s account. Gizmodo reached out to Facebook, Spotify, Apple, Soundcloud, and Stitcher, all of which host Bannon’s podcast or in Facebook’s case, allows its distribution through Bannon’s personal page and Instagram. All of these sites have identifiable policies around calls to violence and/or harassing or bullying content (Gizmodo couldn’t locate any publicly-accessible content rules for Stitcher, but archived versions of its content provider agreement prohibit this kind of incitement.) We’ll update if any respond.
YouTube, which has a three-strikes policy, said that the specific podcast episode has been removed. The podcast’s account remains active on the site. “We’ve removed this video for violating our policy against inciting violence,” YouTube spokesperson Alex Joseph told Gizmodo. “We will continue to be vigilant as we enforce our policies in the post-election period.”
Update: 11/5/2020 at 11:09 p.m. ET: Facebook has also removed two posts from Bannon’s page, though it stopped short of any more significant penalties such as a ban.
“We removed these videos for violating our policy against violence and incitement,” a Facebook spokesperson told Gizmodo.
Update: 11/6/2020 at 11:33 a.m. ET: Spotify has removed the episode in question. Bannon’s podcast is no longer accessible on Stitcher.
“Spotify won’t tolerate content on our platform that promotes, advocates or incites hatred or violence,” a Spotify spokesperson told Gizmodo. “The content in question has been removed due to multiple violations of our policy.”
“Per our content review process, we flagged and reviewed the show and subsequently removed it this morning,” Stitcher chief marketing officer Amy Fitzgibbon told Gizmodo.
Update: 11/6/2020 at 1:35 p.m. ET: Soundcloud has also removed the episode of Bannon’s podcast in which he called for Dr. Fauci and the FBI director to be decapitated and their heads displayed as a trophy.
A somewhat more immediate concern for Bannon, however, may be the consequences for his legal defense in the alleged “Build the Wall” GoFundMe scam, which he could spent 11 to 14 years or more in prison over. His powerhouse lawyers at Quinn Emanuel abruptly notified the court they were abandoning his defense on Friday. Prosecutors for the Southern District of New York have yet to comment on whether they will seek to have Bannon’s bail arrangement revoked over the comments.