Fact Check

Stephen Bannon: 'Nobody Can Blame You for Beating Your Wife If It's Out of Love'?

A fake news web site put words in Trump strategist Stephen Bannon's mouth to the effect that he defended spousal abuse as an act of "love."

Published Aug 26, 2016

Steve Bannon (YouTube)
Steve Bannon (Image Via YouTube)
Trump strategist Stephen Bannon defended spousal abuse with the statement, "Nobody can blame you for beating your wife if it's out of love."

Stephen K. Bannon, who came to fame as the executive chairman of the right-leaning news web site Breitbart and even greater fame when he was tapped to be CEO of Donald Trump's presidential campaign in August 2016, quickly found himself fending off ghosts from the past when it was revealed that he had been charged with domestic violence and battery in an incident involving his ex-wife in 1996. Politico summarized the police report:

The Santa Monica, Calif., police report says that Bannon’s then-wife claimed he pulled at her neck and wrist during an altercation over their finances, and an officer reported witnessing red marks on her neck and wrist to bolster her account. Bannon also reportedly smashed the phone when she tried to call the police.

However, the charges were dismissed when Bannon's then-wife failed to appear in court, and a Trump spokesperson has stated that the revelation would not affect his future with the campaign.

On 26 August 2016, the entertainment web site Politicops weighed in with a satirical take on Bannon's marital difficulties, excerpted below:

Asked to comment on the validity of the charges against him, Bannon first attempted to circle around a direct answer to the question and said, “Well, look, you know things like these are orchestrated, right? I mean, no one in their right mind would be looking to shoot down people that aren’t targeting them in the first place. And the fact that this is happening right now, like, 20 years later, I mean, it’s just ridiculous. Why would someone be doing this if not to discredit me and in doing so, Donald Trump as well? It’s so obvious I honestly find it hilarious.”

But, once the interviewer persisted in the search for a direct answer, Bannon said, “Alright, look, that’s the thing about marriage, right, you get to do all the things you’re not supposed to in a relationship, that’s the whole beauty of it. And just like there’s no rape in marriage, so too can nobody blame you if you smack your wife around a couple of times so long as you’re doing it out of love. As a matter of fact, I’ll have you know that some women actually enjoy being beaten by their husbands, and I don’t mean that in everyday life. I’m talking about when they’re performing their marital duties,” he argued.

All of these quotes are fictitious. Bannon has made no such defense of domestic violence. Politicops and its companion sites under the Newslo banner specialize in over-the-top political spoofery based on nuggets of real news:

Newslo is the first hybrid News/Satire platform on the web. Readers come to us for a unique brand of entertainment and information that is enhanced by features like our fact-button, which allows readers to find what is fact and what is satire.

In the case of this article, the fact-button highlights one short paragraph stating the basic facts of the 1996 domestic violence incident.


Gold, Hadas and John Bresnahan.  "Trump Campaign CEO Once Charged in Domestic Violence Case."    Politico.  25 August 2016.

Stevan, Alex.  "Stephen Bannon: 'Nobody Can Blame You for Beating Your Wife If It's Out of Love."    Politicops.  26 August 2016.

David Emery is a West Coast-based writer and editor with 25 years of experience fact-checking rumors, hoaxes, and contemporary legends.