An unhappy journalist disrupted the White House visit by the cast of “Ted Lasso” to discuss the show’s themes of mental health on Monday morning.
As Jason Sudeikis, Brendan Hunt, Hannah Waddingham, Toheeb Jimoh and Brett Goldstein took the stage for Sudeikis to give a speech, Simon Ateba of Today News Africa began to protest that he had not been called on in the past seven months’ worth of press briefings at the White House.
Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tried to shut Ateba down and said, “No. No. No. We’re not doing this. We’re not doing this.”
Ateba eventually quieted down after another reporter in the room told him to “let it go,” and Kelly O’Donnell of NBC News apologized to the room. “Oh no it’s fine,” Sudeikis said to Jean-Pierre after she turned around to the “Ted Lasso” cast to apologize.
Following the conference, Ateba resumed his address of Jean-Pierre, telling her that she can’t keep discriminating against some people in the briefing room because you don’t like them.
Jean-Pierre swiftly tried to shut him down, saying “So you have a choice,” before Ateba kept going with his unplanned monologue.
“This is not China, this is not Russia, this is the United States, this is the White House,” Ateba said as another voice in the briefing room shouted “Decorum!”
According to Aaron Rupar’s Tweet, journalist Brian Karem got through to Ateba with the words, “The rest of us are here too pal, if you have grievances you should bring them here later.”
“You are impinging on everybody in here who is only trying to do their job,” another reporter said.
Sudeikis took the podium to give some remarks about mental health and how his Apple TV+ show “Ted Lasso” enters the cultural conversation about ensuring good mental health.
“No matter who you are, no matter where you live, no matter who you voted for, I assume we all know someone who, or have been that someone ourselves actually, that’s struggled, that’s felt isolated, that’s felt anxious, that has felt alone. It’s actually one of the many things that, believe it or not, we all have in common as human beings,” Sudeikis said at the beginning of his address. “A big theme of the show is to check in with your neighbor, your co-worker, your friends, your family, and ask how they’re doing and listen, sincerely. While it’s easier said than done, we also have to know that we shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help ourselves, and that does take a lot especially when it’s something that has such a negative stigma to it such as mental health and doesn’t need to be that way.”
Jeremy Swift posted to his Instagram, suggesting that he was also in attendance.
“Jason spoke eloquently despite one impassioned journalist having a go at the press officer,” he captioned his photo.