A White House correspondent accused the Biden administration of racism, after he blew up at press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in front of the cast of “Ted Lasso.”
The cast of the HBO hit met with President Biden at the White House on Monday to discuss mental health, a predominate story line for star Jason Sudeikis’ titular soccer coach, but before the cast could meet with the commander-in-chief, a reporter exploded at Jean-Pierre.
“You’re making a mockery of the First Amendment … It’s been seven months and you have not called on me,” shouted Today News Africa correspondent Simon Ateba.
“I’m saying that’s not right. That’s not right,” he stated.
“You’ve been discriminating against me and discrimination against some people in the briefing,” he continued as the “Ted Lasso” cast uncomfortably stood behind Jean-Pierre. “This is not China, this is not Russia.”
Other reporters admonished Ateba for interrupting the briefing, and called for “decorum.”
“No. No. No. No. No. We’re not doing this. We’re not doing this,” Jean-Pierre told Ateba.
When he went on, she turned to Sudeikis and snarked, “Welcome to the press briefing room.”
Ateba appeared on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” to explain his side of the story.
“The First Amendment says I have the right to ask questions, to do my job – and the press secretary doesn’t need to like me, date me, marry me, have two black children with me,” he began.
“She doesn’t need to do all of that. She doesn’t even need to like my accent, doesn’t even need to like what I look like, where I come from,” Ateba accused. “They look down on me and they don’t respect the First Amendment.”
He said that in the last seven months at the White House, he has “done all of the right things,” by sending questions, and trying to set up a meeting with Jean-Pierre, who refused to arrange a sit down until next year.
Ateba noted that even as First Lady Jill Biden went to Africa and the White House received fifty African leaders to a summit in D.C., but Jean-Pierre still wouldn’t take a single question.
“The African guy who covers the White House is looked down upon in the greatest country in the world … where freedom of speech is protected,” he explained.
“What happened to me today is a total disgrace, and it happened in the Biden White House.
Carlson said that what the White House did to Ateba was “one of the most awful things” he’s ever seen.
Ateba said that CNN’s Jim Acosta doesn’t have the same issue while trying to do his job.
“He’s white. He works for CNN. I’m black. I’m African. I don’t have money,” he stated.
“They look down on me. I don’t have the opportunities that they have and they don’t treat me the same way – I need to do my job.”
“The freedom of speech and the press in the U.S. allows me to do my job, and that’s the only thing that I’m trying to do, and they are stonewalling me,” Ateba concluded.
After his initial outburst, Jean-Pierre condescendingly asked, “Are we ready? Are we going to behave?”
Sudeikis was eventually able to take the podium and spoke about mental health as cast members Toheeb Jimoh, Brett Goldstein, Hannah Waddingham and Brendan Hunt looked on.
“No matter who you are, no matter where you live, no matter who you voted for, we all probably, I assume, we all know someone who has, or have been that someone ourselves actually, that’s struggled, that’s felt isolated, that’s felt anxious, that has felt alone,” he told the crowd of reporters.
“It’s actually one of the many things, believe it or not, that we all have in common as human beings,” Sudeikis continued.
“It’s something that we can all – and should – talk about with one another when we’re feeling that way or when we recognize that in someone feeling that way.”
In a nod to the show, actor James Lance, who plays reporter Trent Crimm in “Ted Lasso,” appeared in the press corps to ask Sudeikis how he felt about his hometown Kansas City being named as the host of the 2026 World Cup.
“Trent Crimm, The Independent,” the actor introduced himself. “Here I was hoping for a softball,” Sudeikis shot back.
The actor took heat on social media for having the gall to preach about mental health, when he very publicly humiliated ex-fiancée Olivia Wilde custody papers while she was on stage presenting at 2022’s CinemaCon.
“Really from a guy whose divorce, etc. played out in front of all of us,” a blue check tweeted on Monday.
“He was very much involved in that crap we had to endure. Give us a break.”
Wilde said her ex had performed an “attack on her workplace” with the stunt.
“Jason’s actions were clearly intended to threaten me and catch me off guard,” Wilde noted.
“He could have served me discreetly, but instead he chose to serve me in the most aggressive manner possible.”
“The fact that Jason would embarrass me professionally and put our personal conflict on public display in this manner is extremely contrary to our children’s best interests,” she concluded.
He later apologized for serving Wilde legal papers on stage, and said he “deeply regretted” how it went down.