Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and his co-host targeted Ned Staebler, a Michigan citizen who exposed two Republican Wayne County Board of Election members for undermining the election results in the state, saying the local businessman should be reported as a domestic terror threat.
Staebler went viral on Tuesday evening following his remarks at a contentious Zoom meeting of the Wayne County Board of Elections, home to the city of Detroit. Staebler called out the two Republicans holding up the vote, pointing out that Wayne County includes a large population of Black voters who would be effectively disenfranchised by a failure to certify the results due to wholly unsubstantiated allegations of fraud. During the Zoom meeting, he compared the Republican board members to segregationists Bull Connor and George Wallace and said, “The Trump stink — the stain of racism you … have just covered yourself in is going to follow you throughout history.” The Republican members eventually dropped their partisan objections and the vote was certified. Now, the state government will move forward with certifying the results of all counties.
Earlier in the broadcast, Bannon said Staebler should be subjected to a “struggle session” -- a term referring to a public humiliation ritual used to punish dissidents during Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution. The Guardian described these “struggle sessions” led by Mao’s Red Guard during the Chinese Cultural Revolution of the 1960s as public events in which dissidents were “publicly humiliated, beaten and in some cases murdered.” Bannon said this should happen to Staebler, then hedged by saying he was “using a figure of speech” and “we’re going to have a digital struggle session.”
These comments streamed live on YouTube. Bannon’s YouTube channel was recently issued a strike and temporarily disabled from streaming after he called for the beheading of Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray. After the comments -- which were repeatedly raised by Democrats in yesterday’s Senate hearing featuring Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg -- went viral, the lawyers representing Bannon in his federal fraud case withdrew from the case.
Users on fringe far-right social media platforms Parler and 4chan are now circulating threats against Staebler’s family, including personal information they claim to be associated with him and his family.