Steve Bannon backs out of college appearance after protest threats

Steve Bannon, the far-right former Breitbart News head whose appointment as chief strategist to Republican President-elect Donald Trump's forthcoming administration has rung alarm bells among politicians and the media, has backed out of an upcoming appearance at Harvard's Institute of Politics.

Bloomberg Politics' Jennifer Jacobs reported Bannon's commitment to attending a conference of campaign managers had changed, pending the launch of Donald Trump's "Thank You Tour" of the United States this week.

However, the Boston Globe also reported this week that student protesters were organizing a "peaceful" show of force against the appearance of Bannon and fellow Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway at the event. A Facebook event page titled "Protest Stephen Bannon & Trump Advisors at Harvard" had over 1,100 attendees listed as "going" as of Tuesday night, with an additional 3.9k listed as "interested."

Additionally, the New York Times reported some 650 women attending Harvard had signed a letter denouncing Bannon's appointment.

Under Bannon's tenure, Breitbart struck a more openly hostile tone on racial, identity and gender issues. This culminated in coverage contributors like Milo Yiannopoulos defended as trolling, but solicited the favor of the so-called alt-right, a loosely organized group of online trolls and far-right activists centered around the racist philosophy of white nationalism.

Despite protests against and widespread criticism of Bannon, Republican officials have largely defended Trump's pick.