An African reporter who covers the White House hit out at White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre for her hostile behavior and abrupt rejection of his questions just a week before an important gathering of African leaders in Washington, D.C.
Today News Africa reporter Simon Ateba’s repeated attempts to ask the White House spokeswoman questions hit a boiling point when she stormed out of the briefing room on Thursday after he confronted her for not answering his questions about next week’s U.S.-Africa Summit.
President Joe Biden will be hosting 49 African heads of state in a three-day summit with the goal of continuing to strengthen “our shared vision for the future of U.S.-Africa relations.”
The summit will run from Tuesday to Thursday in Washington and will have a high security presence that will cause road closures, Metro service changes, and a security perimeter around Mount Vernon Square and the Washington Convention Center.
Ateba wrote on social media that “for the past three months,” he has been trying to ask questions of the press secretary, but she has “been maltreating me and other African journalists.”
“It’s been a disaster, a catastrophe. A real nightmare covering the Biden White House,” the African journalist told Tucker Carlson on Fox News on Friday. “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 is astounding, disgraceful.”
Ateba continued, “Even as President Biden is about to receive 50 African heads of state for the U.S.-Africa Summit, she didn’t give a single question. I’ve been trying for the past three months.”
The Today News Africa reporter called this “shocking because she’s black. She’s an immigrant.”
“I’m black and also an immigrant. And she’s discriminating against me,” he said.
Ateba called Jean-Pierre’s behavior “shocking” and said she “should be ashamed of herself.”
Thursday’s clash between Ateba and Jean-Pierre has been underway on numerous topics. During Dr. Anthony Fauci’s final press briefing at White House in November, Daily Caller reporter Diana Glebova tried to ask Fauci about the origins of the coronavirus, and Jean-Pierre abruptly stopped the questioning.
Ateba then chimed in to defend the reporter: “She has a valid question. She’s asking about the origin of COVID-19, and Dr. Fauci’s the best person to answer that question.”
“I’m done. Simon, I’m done. Simon, I’m done. I’m done with you right now,” Jean-Pierre yelled at Ateba to shut down further discussion of the question about the origin of the virus.
Ateba had numerous hostile exchanges with the previous press secretary Jen Psaki, but on Friday, he felt Jean-Pierre had “discriminated” against him more than any other press secretary.