Today News Africa’s White House reporter, Simon Ateba, is suing White House press secretary Katrine Jean-Pierre for alleged discrimination at press briefings.
“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. My lawyer will be the one to also talk about this case here or when we appear on television to discuss the case,” Ateba announced on Twitter Friday.
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. My lawyer will be the one to also talk about this case here or when we appear on television to discuss the case. pic.twitter.com/PuRftasObx— Simon Ateba (@simonateba) March 4, 2023
He is also suing the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) for making false charges against him and his organization and failing to comply with their own membership requirements
“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,” Ateba added.
Ateba explained how WHCA removed him from their association due to claims he “did not follow their own membership guidelines.” An application to join the association was denied because “the committee noted repeated instances where your behavior violated the expectations for membership outlined in our bylaws,” Ateba said WHCA Executive Director Steven Thomma wrote to him in an email.
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
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
In December 2022, Ateba expressed concerns to Katrine Jean-Pierre about his job life becoming a “nightmare.”
“There’s a reason why your show is the most watched show in news in the U.S. Because you bring people like me. It’s been a disaster, a total catastrophe, a real nightmare covering the Biden White House,” Ateba told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.
Ateba described himself as a significant voice for Africa in the United States, but claimed there is “astounding” and “disgraceful” amount of “discrimination against me and against African journalists in the White House.”
The journalist said that he had not been able to ask Pierre a question for three months at the time. Ateba believes Pierre treated him unfairly because of his heritage and accent. “I believe that it has to do with maybe two or three things. The first thing, I sound different. I wasn’t born here. I was born in Cameroon. I speak French. I speak different languages. I don’t have the American accent. I’ve tried. I’ve failed and I’ve decided I’ll stick with my accent.”
The former WHCA member also suggested that his queries about COVID-19 and illegal immigration may have earned Pierre’s contempt.
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