'Seinfeld' Co-creator Rob Reiner Steamed to Learn Steve Bannon Makes Money Off the Show

'It makes me sick,' Reiner told the Daily Beast in recounting how Bannon, the alt-right-affiliated named Trump's senior aide, took the 'Seinfeld' stake.

President-elect Donald Trump's chief strategist Stephen Bannon.
Carlo Allegri, Reuters

Steven Bannon, the alt-right figure and former Breitbart News website executive whom U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has tapped as strategy chief at the White House, owns a small but lucrative share of the television show "Seinfeld," which is still running in syndication. That infuriates Rob Reiner, the liberal actor-producer whose company created the sitcom.

"It's horrible," Reiner told the Daily Beast website this week. “It’s crazy,” he said, talking about how Bannon got rich off the small stake in "Seinfeld," acquired from Reiner's Castle Rock Entertainment company. “When I first heard about it, it made me sick. It makes me sick. Because I had no idea."

As Reiner describes, two years after Castle Rock was established in 1987, Westinghouse Electric invested in the company in return for a 15 percent share. Castle Rock was then sold in turn to broadcasting mogul Ted Turner. "During the sale, Westinghouse hired the boutique investment bank Bannon & Co. to consult on the deal. Bannon & Co. was comprised of Steve Bannon and several of his old colleagues from his days at Goldman Sachs," the report said.

“Part of the deal was that Westinghouse could either sell or hold on to whatever TV series we had," Reiner said. "At the time we had eight pilots, and one of them was 'Seinfeld.' We didn’t know if it was going to be successful or not. But as payment, Bannon advised them to stay in and hold on to their profit participation in the series, and Westinghouse said, ‘Well, if you think it’s so good, why don’t you take a piece of this instead of us giving you a fee?’ And apparently that’s what Bannon did, and he wound up with a small piece of 'Seinfeld' that he’s had forever.”

"In the years since, Bannon’s used his Seinfeld royalties to fund a number of his pet projects, including a slew of truly awful right-wing documentaries and the publication of the controversial Clinton-bashing tome Clinton Cash," the Daily Beast report said.