White House Threatens Black Reporter for Disobedience

Simon Ateba, a reporter for Today News Africa, has received a potential banning notice from the White House for his persistent inquiries about why White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre continuously overlooks him. 

Following his recent grievance about being disregarded by Jean-Pierre at the end of the previous month, the White House issued a “warning” to Ateba. 

The reporter shared the letter on his Twitter, in which his conduct was termed “unacceptable.” It cautions, “Should you persist in disrupting briefings or events by talking over your peers when they are asked a question, even when a White House employee has requested you to cease, your hard pass may face suspension or withdrawal.”

Ateba’s insistent and challenging questions to the Biden administration, such as those concerning Biden’s eight-country travel ban in Africa in late 2021, have repeatedly been bypassed by the White House. 

Part of Ateba’s complaint refers to a briefing on June 26, during which Ateba accused Jean-Pierre of discriminating against him for several months. However, the briefing momentarily veered off course as Jean-Pierre and other reporters at the briefing urged Ateba to cease interrupting.

Jean-Pierre admonished, “You’re displaying extreme rudeness,” while Ateba argued that she was “not allowing me freedom of the press.”

Additionally, the letter mentions incidents involving Ateba on May 13, March 20, and December 8, 2022.

Ateba began shouting during a March 20 briefing as Jean-Pierre was attempting to introduce the cast of the streaming series, “Ted Lasso,” who were at the briefing to discuss mental health. Other reporters in the room confronted Ateba at the time, and the White House Correspondents Association expressed dismay over the “lack of decorum” displayed.

Ateba alleges that he has been marginalized since then, with his emails and protests unanswered and his attempts to secure a meeting with the press secretary rejected. 

He contends that his loud questioning from the back of the room is “a last resort.” 

Ateba even goes as far as to suggest denying his questions is a form of discrimination. “I’m Black, an immigrant, and the underdog,” he asserts.