A White House visit by the cast of the Apple TV+ series Ted Lasso quickly devolved into chaos Monday when a reporter stole the spotlight by accusing Biden spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre of “making a mockery of the First Amendment.”
The Ted Lasso cast, including stars Jason Sudeikis and Hannah Waddingham, stood in awkward silence as Today News Africa reporter Simon Ateba berated Jean-Pierre for discriminating against certain journalists, saying she had not called on him for seven months.
“We’re not doing this,” Jean-Pierre repeatedly said in an attempt to quiet Ateba.
But he would not be silenced. “This is the U.S. This is not China. This is not Russia. What you’re doing is not right,” he continued. “What you are doing is you’re making a mockery of the First Amendment. It’s been seven months you’ve not called on me.”
Ateba didn’t appear to receive any support from his fellow journalists. In fact, they rallied behind Jean-Pierre and the celebrity visitors.
“Sorry to our guests. We apologize,” NBC News correspondent Kelly O’Donnell said.
Later, Jean-Pierre called Ateba’s outburst “unacceptable.”
“What has just occurred this last 10 or 15 minutes is unacceptable. It is unacceptable. So we are going to either continue to briefing, or we can just end the briefing right here,” she said.
Simon Ateba has been a vocal critic of the Biden administration, especially its COVID-related travel bans to certain African countries. He has repeatedly accused Jean-Pierre of trying to silence him,
The Ted Lasso cast was at the White House to promote the series’ third season, which began streaming last week. Officially, they were in Washington to discuss mental health issues.
Even President Joe Biden helped promote the show with a tweet taken just outside the Oval Office.
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