Monday’s White House briefing  featured Ted Lasso cast members, there to discuss the importance of mental health resources. Naturally, the event was a particularly theatrical one. But most of the dramatics came not from one of the starry special guests, but an actual member of the press corps.

Shortly ahead of a meeting with President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, castmates Jason Sudeikis, Hannah Waddingham, Brett Goldstein, Brendan Hunt, and Toheeb Jimoh joined press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre at the briefing podium. 

Before their presence could be properly acknowledged though, Today News Africa reporter Simon Ateba accused Jean-Pierre of discrimination. “It’s been seven months. You’ve not called on me. I’m saying that’s not right,” Ateba said, as reported by The Hill. “This is the US. This is not China. This is not Russia,” he continued.

According to The Hill and video from the exchange, multiple reporters stepped in to stop Ateba’s disruption. “If you have grievances, you should bring them to her later… The press corps is tired of dealing with this,” Jeff Mason, a Reuters correspondent and former White House Correspondents’ Association president, said as Ateba continued to interrupt. 

“Welcome to the press briefing room,” Jean-Pierre then said before apologizing to the Ted Lasso stars behind her. “Are we gonna behave?” she asked the press corps at one point, later adding, “What has just occurred this last 10, 15 minutes is unacceptable.”

Adding insult to apparent injury, minutes after the outburst, Sudeikis accepted a question regarding how he felt “about Kansas City being one of the named hosting cities for the 2026 World Cup” from “Trent Crimm,” a journalist played on Ted Lasso by James Lance. 

Sudeikis also got serious during the briefing, emphasizing the ways in which mental health struggles unite people, “no matter where you live, no matter who you voted for. . .It’s actually one of the many things, believe it or not, that we all have in common as human beings.” The actor, who has been coy about whether or not Ted Lasso’s recently released third season will be its last, continued: “I know in this town, a lot of folks don’t always agree and don’t always feel heard, seen, listened to. But I truly believe we should all do our best to help take care of each other. That’s my own personal belief. I think that’s something that everyone up here on stage believes in.”

To conclude the briefing, Sudeikis declined to do the Biden impression he once performed regularly on Saturday Night Live—explaining, “They got the real one here now.”

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