Speed Reads

so long and thanks for all the fish

Breitbart patron Robert Mercer distances himself from Bannon, slams Yiannopoulos, and resigns from hedge fund

On Thursday, billionaire hedge fund investor and conservative donor Robert Mercer resigned from his position as co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies. He also announced that he had sold his shares in Breitbart, the Stephen Bannon-led media outlet, to his daughters for "personal reasons," a letter obtained by Bloomberg's Joshua Green reveals.

Mercer was the third biggest donor to conservative outside spending groups in the 2016 election cycle. In his resignation letter from Renaissance, he wrote: "I have great respect for Mr. Bannon, and from time to time I do discuss politics with him. However, I make my own decisions with respect to whom I support politically. Those decisions do not always align with Mr. Bannon's." As Green reported in his book The Devil's Bargain, the elder Mercer gave Breitbart $10 million of capital in 2012 and his daughter, Rebekah, was instrumental in bringing Bannon and Kellyanne Conway into President Trump's election campaign.

In early October, BuzzFeed News reported on the ties between former Breitbart technology editor Milo Yiannopoulos and white nationalists. Mercer directly addressed his previous support for Yiannopoulos in the letter, saying that he had hoped Yiannopoulos would "promote the type of open debate and freedom of thought that is being throttled on many American college campuses today." Instead, Mercer wrote, Yiannopoulos' actions were "divisive" and had been "undermining the open and productive discourse that I had hoped to facilitate. I was mistaken to have supported him."