Today News Africa Chief White House Correspondent Simon Ateba told Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson Friday that White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre “should be ashamed” for her alleged discrimination against reporters.
Ateba has repeatedly been in conflict with Jean-Pierre during attempts to ask her a question at press briefings. The press secretary recently abruptly ended a briefing as Ateba confronted her on not answering his question about the upcoming African Summit, where President Joe Biden plans to meet with 50 African leaders.
“It’s been a disaster, a total catastrophe, a real nightmare covering the Biden White House,” Ateba said. “Right now, I’m the voice of Africa in the U.S. but I can confirm that the level of discrimination against me and against African journalists in the White House, it’s astounding, it’s disgraceful. You know, it’s been three months that we don’t have questions at the White House even as President Biden is about to receive 50 African head of state in DC for the U.S. African Summit, she didn’t even give us even a single question.”
“I’ve been trying for the past three months, and you know it’s shocking because she’s black, she’s an immigrant,” he continued. “I’m black, I’m also an immigrant and she’s discriminating against me more than the white lady who was there before and it’s shocking. She should be ashamed of herself for doing that and it’s heartbreaking,” Ateba added, referring to former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
Ateba claims that Jean-Pierre likely retaliates against him because of his accent, his immigration status and his ability to ask “tough questions.” During Thursday’s briefing, he attempted to ask how Biden can invite 50 African heads of state to the U.S. but does not have the time to speak to each leader “one-on-one.” (RELATED: ‘Be More Respectful’: Kirby Snaps At White House Reporter As He Derails Briefing)
He further criticized the press secretary for refusing to call on Daily Caller White House correspondent Diana Glebova when she attempted to ask White House senior medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci about the origins of COVID-19 at a Nov. 22 briefing.
“You lie to us, you told us that COVID came from a bat to human, and now we understand that it probably came from the lab and that’s the most consequential question and she wouldn’t even allow Diana from Daily Caller to ask that question,” he added. “And when I intervened and said that ‘no, you need to allow her to ask the question,’ I’ve been blacklisted, and it’s unfortunate, it’s disgraceful.”
The Today News Africa reporter lamented the White House’s treatment of him in a statement on Twitter where he stated that he has “given everything to journalism” after Jean-Pierre walked out on Thursday’s briefing.
You can attack me on Twitter, you can look down on me in the briefing room, you can rush to judge and condemn, you can laugh at my accent, you can insult me, I have given everything to journalism. If you were me, you would never have gone to college,you would have become a robber
— Simon Ateba (@simonateba) December 9, 2022
The White House has criticized Ateba for repeatedly confronting them over their tendency to call on select reporters seated in the front of the briefing room. He derailed former White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s final briefing on May 13 by talking over two reporters in order to get a question answered.
Following the briefing, the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) threatened expulsion in an email addressing his behavior. Ateba said he received the email with the “heartbreaking” letter with a “heavy heart” as free press was seemingly not being practiced.
“I am the victim here and I am being treated so unfairly by WHCA,” he previously said in a statement obtained by the Daily Caller. “It is sad and it is heartbreaking. America is the greatest country in the world and no country comes even close. Here in the United States, press freedom is respected, or so I thought, or so I was made to believe.”
“I have sacrificed everything for journalism,” he continued. “I have done no other job across various continents. I have been arrested, detained, accused of being a spy for Boko Haram while doing an investigative report on Nigerian refugees in Chad and Cameroon. I have been attacked by pirates on the Gulf of Guinea, kidnapped from a car in Lagos, dumped in the woods and left for dead. Am I not worth asking a question at least once a month? Am I not being in the room when President Biden receives President Kenyatta of Kenya? Am I less? Is that what press freedom is?”