A journalist from Africa who provokes White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre with his queries is retaliating after being denied membership in the White House Correspondents Association.
Journalist Simon Ateba, who covers the White House for Today News Africa, announced in a tweet he will sue the group, “since they made false claims against me and my company and did not abide by their own membership guidelines.”
“I will fight like hell because as they sit in the briefing room collecting salaries, they don’t know there are people like me who build companies from scratch. Pray for me,” he wrote.
I have decided to take legal action against the White House Correspondents Association @whca since they made false claims against me and my company and did not abide by their own membership guidelines. From now on, I will let my lawyer talk about the case but I will fight like… https://t.co/cWrbFjMr7Z pic.twitter.com/sEnzaKDHh3
— Simon Ateba (@simonateba) March 4, 2023
In a separate tweet, he told more of the story.
“Today is a dark day for freedom of the press in the United States of America. The forces of evil who felt belittled have removed me from the White House Correspondents Association,” he wrote.
“The removal had the approval of one journalist called @tamarakeithNPR who is WHCA President and works for NPR funded by donors and taxpayers. They claimed that I do not have money and cannot be a member of WHCA. They also lied in their letter and did not follow their own membership guidelines. May God forgive them,” he wrote.
Once Ateba submitted his application, he was reportedly requested for further information that he did not supply. The application of Ateba was then denied.
Today is a dark day for freedom of the press in the United States of America. The forces of evil who felt belittled have removed me from the White House Correspondents Association. The removal had the approval of one journalist called @tamarakeithNPR who https://t.co/ku6YlLJ9km… https://t.co/6sCa9iKgeT pic.twitter.com/2grSfnbwh2
— Simon Ateba (@simonateba) March 4, 2023
“Additionally, the committee noted repeated instances where your behavior violated the expectations for membership outlined in our bylaws, which have been detailed to you previously,” the email quoted Thomma as saying after writing that Ateba’s dues would be refunded.
In a follow-up tweet, Ateba noted he is not going away.
“I would like to clarify to my followers that I will still be covering the @WhiteHouse briefings, I am just not allowed to be part of the elite club—the @WHCA —which enables more access. The WHCA does not grant access to the People’s House. The White House belongs to the American people, rich and poor, famous or not. They can send you there and sack you after four years if they want,” he wrote.
“I have also decided to take legal action against President Biden’s Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre for discrimination against me in the White House,” he wrote.
Attacked by pirates on the Gulf of Guinea with an AK47 to my head, kidnapped in Nigeria, dumped in the woods & left for dead, arrested in Cameroon during investigation & kept in dark cell only to be sidelined at the White House. This is how Tucker Carlson introduced me to America pic.twitter.com/bOLujRzKfi
— Simon Ateba (@simonateba) January 14, 2023
On his Twitter account, Ateba shared an endorsement of his struggle with the Biden White House from Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, who named Ateba “the most famous and we would say finest reporter in all Africa. And that means Karine Jean-Pierre does not want to talk to him at all. She hasn’t called on him in more than four months. Now the White House says that Karine Jean-Pierre will not meet with Simon Ateba until next year, which means, of course never.”
In December, Jean-Pierre erupted as Ateba attempted to ask a question on the planned summit between President Joe Biden and African leaders. Infuriated by Ateba, she slammed her briefing book down and fled the room.
In November, Ateba attempted to ask Jean-Pierre a question concerning the origins of COVID-19, but was blocked by Jean-Pierre, according to a White House record of the discussion.
“You call on the same people every single time,” Ateba said then.
“You’re being — you’re being disrespectful to your colleagues, and you’re being disrespectful to our guests. I will not call on you if you yell,” she said.
“Simon, I’m done. I’m done with you right now,” she said, later telling him, “You’re taking time away from your colleagues.”