Following an explosive exchange between Today News Africa’s Simon Ateba and White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Monday, the cast of ABC’s The View had their knives out Tuesday for the reporter as they took turns taking swipes in defense of a friend of the show. But in a series of tweets in near real-time, Ateba shot back and called them out for allegedly spreading big lies about stuff he didn’t write.
Suggesting Ateba was a “troll,” Whoopi Goldberg claimed “he does this all the time. This may be one of the reasons she doesn’t call on him, because he can be combative.” And she scoffed at the idea that he might be right “about being ignored at the briefings.”
“You have to look at your behavior, sir. You have to look at your behavior because nobody wants to be jumped. Nobody wants to be jumped up there. The gig is tough enough,” she would later whine on Jean-Pierre’s behalf.
Co-host Joy Behar declared that “[h]e’s not a serious journalist” and read passages that were purportedly from Ateba’s blog where he criticized an actress’s body (click “expand”):
I don’t think this is a serious guy. In 2013 he wrote an open letter on his blog to a Nigerian actress saying that a topless scene she was in was offensive because, “you are really not attractive.” He’s not a serious journalist.
Let me read this. “Looking closely at the pictures you released, I realized your arse was too fat and your body is in great need of some serious physical exercises.” This is who’s going to these conferences. I mean, come on.
In a video tweet of the segment, Ateba called what The View said about him “DISGRACEFUL” and said Behar was misattributing the comments to him. “@TheView attacks me. @JoyVBehar reads a post I never wrote. I have never written anything about a ‘woman’s fat ass!” he wrote. “[N]ever disrespected a woman in my life, love all people, never discriminated against anyone in my life.”
In response to Behar, co-host Sunny Hostin insisted that Ateba was “clearly a horrible person and maybe shouldn’t be in the White House briefing room.” Both then mocked Ateba for being with a smaller international outlet and for not having a permanent seat in the briefing room, laughing that he was essentially a “seat filler” like at the Oscars.
Hostin did suggest that Ateba was more legitimate than Peter Doocy since Fox News was “infotainment” in her eyes. And Behar decried him for going on Tucker Carlson’s show later that night. “He ran to Tucker Carlson right after this, so that tells you where he’s at,” she chided.
If the “conservative seat” at the table was occupied by a real conservative fighter like Meghan McCain, viewers would have been reminded of how reporters mistreated press secretaries in the Trump administration. But we’re stuck with faux-conservative Alyssa Farah Griffin, who mocked how Ateba was not a fan of The View and remarked he could be removed by the Secret Service.
For her part, co-host Sara Haines accused Ateba of being a sexist. “Well, I was going to comment the sexism ran rampant in that interview because I watched it back and he starts to say: ‘She doesn’t have to marry me or have babies with me or do anything.’ And I was like, ‘what does that have to do with anything?’ That’s a professional woman…” she huffed.
In the same video tweet, Ateba addressed the attacks from Farah Griffin and Haines. “@Alyssafarah @sarahaines and Whoopi Goldberg berate me without checking my background,” he said before diving into some of the harrowing situations he’s found himself in as a reporter:
I have been attacked by pirates on the Gulf of Guinea with an AK47 to my head, arrested in Cameroon and kept in a dark cell during an investigative story, kidnapped in Nigeria and left for dead but survived and became a better person with a kind heart.
BREAKING – DISGRACEFUL: @TheView attacks me. @JoyVBehar reads a post I never wrote. I have never written anything about a ‘woman’s fat ass! @Alyssafarah @sarahaines and Whoopi Goldberg berate me without checking my background. Only @sunny said something that was sensible. About… pic.twitter.com/8f8mTbSAOr
— Simon Ateba (@simonateba) March 21, 2023
In the past, The View has defended Jean-Pierre’s election denialism regarding the results of the 2016 presidential election.
The View’s attacks on Simon Ateba on behalf of their friend was made possible because of lucrative sponsorships from Pfizer and General Mills. Their contact information is linked.
The transcript is below, click “expand” to read:
ABC’s The View
March 21, 2023
11:16:17 a.m. Eastern
WHOOPI GOLDBERG: So, I mean, this may be one of the reasons — because he does this all the time. This may be one of the reasons she doesn’t call on him, because he can be combative. But is he a troll or does he have a point about being ignored at the briefings? Now, I know she doesn’t decide who sits there, but she does decide who to call on.
JOY BEHAR: I don’t think this is a serious guy. In 2013 he wrote an open letter on his blog to a Nigerian actress saying that a topless scene she was in was offensive because, quote, “you are really not attractive,” unquote. He’s not a serious journalist. He ran to Tucker Carlson right after this, so that tells you where he’s at.
SARA HAINES: Well, I was going to comment the sexism ran rampant in that interview because I watched it back and he starts to say: “She doesn’t have to marry me or have babies with me or do anything.” And I was like, “what does that have to do with anything?” That’s a professional woman and you are filibustering through a press conference where people are coming to speak about mental health.
BEHAR: Let me read this. “Looking closely at the pictures you released, I realized your arse was too fat and your body is in great need of some serious physical exercises.” This is who’s going to these conferences. I mean, come on.
SUNNY HOSTIN: I think he’s clearly a horrible person and maybe shouldn’t be in the White House briefing room. However, he does have what’s called a hard pass, I believe. Which means he doesn’t have a seat assigned. So when other people don’t show up, he gets to ask questions. He is with —
BEHAR: Oh, like at the Emmys and the Oscars?
HOSTIN: Basically. He’s a filler.
BEHAR: He a seat filler. [Laughter]
HOSTIN: But in my view – and he reports on relations between Africa and the United States. It is a global economy. He hasn’t been called on apparently in seven months. If you are going to call on Doocy from Fox News which is just infotainment, then you should call on him as well.
GOLDBERG: That only works if you are respectful. Even if Doocy is –
HOSTIN: He started out respectful there, and then escalated it, which I thought was a loss of decorum.
GOLDBERG: What did he ask?
ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN: There’s got to be some decorum. This guy tweets at me all the time. He’s a big watcher of The View, and not a fan of ours. [Laughter]
BEHAR: Oh, he is?
GOLDBERG: Well, that’s all right.
BEHAR: Let’s say hi to Simon Ateba! [Waves to the camera]
FARAH GRIFFIN: I think you have to have some decorum especially because this is an important issue. I’ve been in this situation before, and actually there’s usually a Secret Service agent in the back and they can, like, remove someone out the door if they’re so disruptive.
You can make the point and say, you know, I haven’t been called on, but then move on. You don’t get to filibuster the kind of briefing was my thought.
HAINES: And Sunny, I like your point, because in that Tucker Carlson interview he actually went on to say, there’s been times where there’s been people visiting from Africa, like, groups of people and he’s still not called on.
HOSTIN: And he’s still not called on.
HAINES: So, I do think there might be something here, but I can see that—
HOSITN: Seven months is a long time.
GOLDBERG: You have to look at your behavior, sir. You have to look at your behavior because nobody wants to be jumped. Nobody wants to be jumped up there. The gig is tough enough.