White House Correspondent Simon Ateba Questions Press Secretary on Personal Matter Amid Legal Battle

In a recent turn of events at the White House, Today News Africa’s correspondent, Simon Ateba, posed a personal question to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre regarding her separation from longtime partner Suzanne Malveaux. Jean-Pierre had previously confirmed her separation from the former CNN national correspondent in an interview with Vogue, revealing that the couple shares an adopted nine-year-old child named Soleil.

During a press briefing, as Jean-Pierre was exiting the room, Ateba shouted, “Is your breakup affecting your job? Is your breakup affecting your job?” This unexpected inquiry came amidst an ongoing legal battle between Ateba and Jean-Pierre.

Ateba is currently suing Jean-Pierre and the Secret Service for revoking his hard pass, which grants reporters access to White House press conferences and events. He alleges that Jean-Pierre consistently ignored his questions during briefings and declined his interview requests. Ateba had initially been granted a hard pass in February 2021.

The White House, in a letter dated May 5, informed Ateba and other reporters that they were tightening the criteria for issuing hard passes. Subsequently, Ateba lost his hard pass officially on August 1, according to details presented in the lawsuit.

Simon Ateba has previously been involved in notable incidents during White House briefings. One such instance occurred when he vocally challenged Jean-Pierre for not allowing former Daily Caller White House correspondent Diana Glebova to ask about the origins of COVID-19 during former White House senior medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci’s final briefing in November. Ateba’s actions have sometimes drawn attention for their confrontational nature, as seen during a March 2023 briefing when he disrupted the proceedings while the cast of “Ted Lasso” was attending as guest speakers.

The ongoing legal battle between Simon Ateba and Karine Jean-Pierre highlights the complex relationship between the press and the White House, further underscoring the challenges faced by journalists in covering the administration.

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