Steve Bannon has been called “a stone cold racist,” a “white supremacist,” and an “anti-Semite” by politicians and cable news personalities. However, in a recent Q&A, Bannon’s former Hollywood partner Jeff Kwatinetz slammed those reports and defended Bannon, who in the 1990s, long before becoming Donald Trump’s chief strategist, was a Hollywood investment banker who executive produced Sean Penn’s directorial debut “The Indian Runner,” and later invested in “Seinfeld.”
“As a liberal, I don’t judge people on their politics, I judge them on their character, and from what I knew then and what I know now, Steve has great character. He’s not a racist or anti-Semitic. Things like that are absurd,” Kwatinetz —who is the founder of The Firm, the talent management and TV production company Bannon was with in 2002 and 2003— told The Hollywood Reporter.
Kwatinetz added, “I know that he’s not anti-Semitic. I am absolutely positive that he’s not anti-Semitic or racist. It is absurd. I am Jewish, Roy Furman was Jewish, Andrew Breitbart was Jewish. He is not anti-Semitic. Period.”
When asked why people say those things about Bannon, the Hollywood executive responded, “I’ve had 20 people who worked at The Firm when Steve was there ask me why the media is lying about Steve. Unlike most of us, Steve is very at ease with himself. He doesn’t need people to correct falsehoods, and he didn’t ask us to do so. He’s a great person who wants the world to be a better place. He’s a good friend and an incredibly hard worker. He has beliefs and stands by them. Those beliefs aren’t based on racism, they’re based on what he honestly believes is best for the world. Do I agree with all of them? No. He was a Bush and a [Donald] Rumsfeld supporter, I was a Bill Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporter. But not being a liberal doesn’t mean you’re a racist.”