A White House news briefing with the cast of “Ted Lasso” devolved into bickering among the media on Monday. It intensified and got more personal after the actors left. (Watch the videos below.)
Today News Africa’s Simon Ateba, who has a history of interrupting news conferences, began to complain to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre that he had not been called on in months and accused her of discrimination.
“We’re not doing this. We’re not doing this,” Jean-Pierre replied with the “Ted Lasso” cast gathered around her.
Ateba, who later aired his grievances on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” told Jean-Pierre: “This is the U.S. This is not China. This is not Russia.”
“Decorum please!” one reporter can be heard shouting. “Let it go,” another said.
“Welcome to the press briefing room,” Jean-Pierre said sarcastically to the actors who awkwardly watched the drama unfold.
“Are we gonna behave?” Jean-Pierre asked the room.
“Ted Lasso” star Jason Sudeikis was there to discuss mental health, but Ateba’s insistence on being heard continued to rile fellow reporters, The Hill noted.
Ateba complained again as national security spokesperson John Kirby was about to take the podium. Fellow journos weren’t having it.
“If you have grievances, you should bring them to her later … The press corps is tired of dealing with this,” Jeff Mason, a Reuters correspondent and former White House Correspondents’ Association president, snapped at Ateba, per The Hill.
“Mind your manners when you’re in here,” Brian Karem said. “If you have a problem, you bring it up afterwards. But you are impinging on everybody in here who is only trying to do their job.”
Jean-Pierre reprimanded the media members.
“What has just occurred this last 10, 15 minutes is unacceptable,” she said.