White House reporter sues Karine Jean-Pierre after losing press pass

African journalist Simon Ateba has filed a lawsuit against White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in an effort to have his press badge reinstated.

Aug 14, 2023 - 13:48
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White House reporter sues Karine Jean-Pierre after losing press pass

A member of the White House press corps has filed a lawsuit against White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and the Secret Service, alleging they wrongfully revoked his press badge.

In his suit filed Thursday, African journalist Simon Ateba argues that the White House policy for revoking press access violates the First and Fifth Amendments of the Constitution. President Biden's White House announced new rules in May that – for the first time – allowed for rescinding a press badge.

"Defendants violated Mr. Ateba’s First Amendment rights by changing the criteria for hard pass credentials to intentionally prevent Mr. Ateba from obtaining hard pass access," the lawsuit reads.

"Defendants did so by adopting credentialing criteria specifically designed to exclude Mr. Ateba from eligibility. Such discrimination amounts to a content-based regulation and viewpoint discrimination against Mr. Ateba in violation of the First Amendment," it continues.

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The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital.

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Ateba says his press pass expired on July 31, and he has not been able to renew it. There are currently 975 reporters with White House hard passes. Hard passes allow journalists to come and go from the White House briefing room and press area freely.

Reporters without hard passes must contact the White House to obtain a day pass for a specific date.

Ateba, who works for Today News Africa, has been at the center of several briefing room blowups. The journalist lashed out at Jean-Pierre during a March 20 briefing when the White House was playing host to the celebrity cast of "Ted Lasso."

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Ateba's main complaint at the time was that he had been unable to ask a question in seven months. The reporter has repeatedly said the White House has discriminated against him and other reporters.

"This is not China. This is not Russia. What you are doing, you’re making a mockery of the First Amendment," Ateba said at the time.

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