A notorious gadfly who claims he’s been removed from the White House Correspondent’s Association, the Today News Africa reporter had one of his trademarked public meltdowns—this time in front of the Ted Lasso cast.
With Jason Sudeikis, Hannah Waddingham, and other stars of the hit show joining White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre at the podium, Ateba began berating Jean-Pierre for not taking enough of his questions.
“No, no, we’re not doing this,” the Biden flack snapped back. “We’re not doing this, we’re not doing this, we’re not doing this!”
Ateba, undeterred, contended that “this is not China” and “this is not Russia” before accusing Jean-Pierre of “making a mockery of your profession.” He then grumbled that “it’s been seven months” since he had last been called on to ask a question, all while the Ted Lasso stars stood awkwardly in the background and Ateba’s press room colleagues yelled out for him to respect “decorum.”
Moments later, after the celebrity portion of the gaggle was complete, Ateba decided to keep going. This time around, however, several fellow journalists stepped in to shut him down.
One reporter let out an exasperated yelp during Ateba’s continued diatribe while others, including Reuters reporter Jeff Mason and columnist Brian Karem (no stranger to press briefing controversy himself), lectured Ateba on his behavior.
“You’re in the front row, and you’ve been comfy, and you get questions all the time,” Ateba shouted at Mason. “There are people in the back who don’t get any questions!”
Karem fired back, “Don’t make assumptions about what the rest of us do. Mind your manners when you’re in here, and if you have a problem, you bring it up afterwards! But you are impinging on everybody in here who are only trying to do their jobs!”
Jean-Pierre, who has had her fair share of run-ins with Ateba, described his latest outburst as “unacceptable” while noting that the Ted Lasso cast was making a short visit to discuss mental health care.
“As you all 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 who are here,” she noted. “I understand there’s going to be a give and take. That’s the way the press briefing has gone for decades before me. And I will always respect that, but what I will not appreciate is disrespecting colleagues and disrespecting guests who were here to talk about an incredibly important issue, which is mental health.”
Earlier this month, Ateba—who has long accused the Biden communications staff of “blacklisting” him due to the complaints of fellow White House reporters—told Fox News host Tucker Carlson that Jean-Pierre is trying to “silence” him following his removal from the WHCA.
And moments after his latest briefing room outburst, Ateba took to Twitter to announce that he will appear on Carlson’s program later that evening to talk about how “they all disrespected me.”