Uproar at White House press briefing as reporters turn on journalist who held up Ted Lasso cast appearance

A visit to the White House by the cast of AppleTV's Ted Lasso was interrupted when a journalist began shouting down press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

The outburst eventually resulted in other reporters remonstrating with the heckler, saying he was impeding their ability to work.

The journalist — Simon Ateba, the White House correspondent for Today News Africa — immediately began shouting at White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre as the cast of the TV commedy show Ted Lasso stood silently behind her during a press corps appearance. The actors were at the White House to promote mental health.

As soon as Atemba began shouting Ms Jean-Pierre tried to shut him down, repeating "we're not doing this" over his comments.

He complained that "this [is] not China, this [is] not Russia," and said Ms Jean-Pierre hadn't called on him for seven months.

After others in the room called for "decorum" he stopped protesting, after which Ms Jean-Pierre asked if he was going to “behave”.

She continued the press briefing and presented the Ted Lasso cast. Once the cast had moved aside following their comments, Atemba began protesting again.

He claimed Ms Jean-Pierre was "discriminating" against him and other individuals in the press corps because she doesn't "like them”.

"And I'm saying that's not right. This is not China, or Russia, this is the United States," he said.

As he continued to argue someone shouts "decorum" from elsewhere in the room, and other reporters began to turn on him, with some shushing him, with some reminding him he's not the only reporter there.

"The rest of us are here too, pal," Brian Karem, the host of the Just Ask the Question podcast, said, clearly annoyed.

Another voice chimed in, telling him that if he has grievances he should "bring them to her later," adding that the press corps is "tired of dealing with this," a reference to the fact that Atemba has frequently expressed his frustration with Ms Jean-Pierre during prior briefings.

Today News Africa reporter Simon Ateba, centre, interrupts Karine Jean-Pierre during the White House daily press briefing (AFP via Getty Images)
Today News Africa reporter Simon Ateba, centre, interrupts Karine Jean-Pierre during the White House daily press briefing (AFP via Getty Images)

Atemba continued arguing, saying people in the back of the room don't get to ask questions. Karem fired back, telling him not to assume what the other reporters do and to "mind your manners when you're in here”.

"If you have a problem, bring it up afterwards, but you are impinging on everybody in here who's only trying to do their jobs," Karem said.

Once the fighting died down, Ms Jean-Pierre reminded members of the press to show respect in the briefing room.

"What I will not appreciate is disrespecting your colleagues and disrespecting guests who are here to talk about an incredibly important issue, which is mental health," she said. "What has just occurred this last 10 or 15 minutes is unacceptable."