A recent White House press briefing devolved into a circus this past Monday in the wake of one reporter from an Africa-focused outlet hurling accusations at press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre of making an extreme “mockery of the First Amendment.”
Jean-Pierre went up to the briefing room podium being trailed by the cast of “Ted Lasso,” a series from Apple TV, who had been paying a visit to the White House to have a meeting with President Joe Biden regarding mental health awareness. Directly after taking her spot on state, Jean-Pierre was blasted with a large number of accusations surrounding discrimination from Simon Ateba, a correspondent for Today News Africa.
At first, Jean-Pierre attempted to silence Ateba. “We’re not doing this,” she bluntly told him numerous times.
Ateba continued however: “You’ve been discriminating against me. You’ve been discriminating against some people in the briefing room. And I’m saying that this is the U.S. This is not China, this is not Russia.”
“What you are doing, you are making a mockery of the First Amendment,” Ateba pushed forth despite protests from a number of others throughout the gathering. “It’s been seven months. You have not called on me. I’m saying that’s not right.”
Staff members from the White House, along with a number of other reporters, exclaimed to Ateba numerous times that they need to be quiet, accusing the man of being extremely disrespectful of the briefing room as a whole and to the gathered reporters.
“Sir, let it go,” someone yelled.
“Decorum, please!” exclaimed another.
Ateba eventually stopped their shouting and the actual press briefing started with comments from Jean -Pierre and “Ted Lasso” star Jason Sudeikis. After the actors statement, both he and the rest of the cast departed the room.
In the wake of their departure, Ateba once again fired back up to attack Jean-Pierre.
“You can’t keep discriminating against some people in the briefing room because you don’t like them, you don’t like their questions,” he shouted. “That’s not right. This is not China, this is not Russia. This is the United States.”
A number of people attempted to once again quiet down the man.
However, Ateba went on with unabashed fury, “I understand that you get questions all the time and you don’t understand what it is to sit here for eight months and be discriminated against. I understand that you’re in the front row … and you get questions all the time, but there are people in the back who don’t get any questions.”
After a few more back and forth exchanges in the room, Ateba finally put an end to his tantrum. Jean-Pierre then started to lecture the room about what had happened.
“As you all know, many of you know, this is the White House press briefing room, a historic room, a room that should have decorum, a room where folks should respect their colleagues and respect the guests that are here. And I understand that there is going to be give and take,” stated Jean-Pierre. “I will always respect that. But what I will not appreciate is disrespecting your colleagues and disrespecting guests who are here, who were here to talk about an incredibly important issue which is mental health.”
“What has just occurred these last 10-15 minutes is unacceptable,” she stated. “So we are either going to continue the briefing or we can just end the briefing right here.”
After a member of the audience gave an answer to the question, Jean-Pierre finally continued as normal.
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) March 20, 2023