Playboy White House correspondent Brian Karem is suing the White House over the temporary suspension of his press pass.
The lawsuit, filed in a Washington, DC, federal district court, alleges the one-month suspension of Karem’s credentials is a breach of both the First Amendment and Fifth Amendment. The suit, which names President Donald Trump and White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham as defendants, asked for the Playboy reporter’s press pass to be immediately reinstated, as well as damages that will be proved at trial.
“We are confident that the Administration’s latest punitive and lawless action against a journalist will not stand, and we look forward to our day in court,” his attorney, Ted Boutrous, said.
Karem’s suspension followed last month’s scuffle in the Rose Garden with Dr. Sebastian Gorka, President Trump’s former deputy assistant. During the president’s press conference regarding the citizenship census question, Karem expressed frustration with attendance of conservative media personalities, insulting them and accusing them of “demonic possession.”
Gorka retorted, “And you’re a journalist, right?”
The Playboy reporter responded by asking Gorka if he wanted to “go outside and have a long conversation.”
“You’re threatening me now in the White House – in the Rose Garden, threatening me in the Rose Garden,” Gorka shot back as he approached Karem, adding, “You’re a punk. You’re not a journalist. You’re a punk!”
“Go home. Go home. Hey Gorka– get a job!” Karem shouted back.
In a letter last week, Grisham defended the decision to revoke the reporter’s pass, writing that he was at fault for “disrupting” the White House event.
Karem is the second reporter to sue the Trump White House for suspending a correspondent press pass. In November, CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta sued the administration after it temporarily revoked his press pass, citing a testy exchange with President Trump. The White House argued Acosta failed to follow “basic standards” during the incident. The CNN’s reporters pass was restored days after filing his suit in a Washington, DC, court.