Playboy reporter Brian Karem says he'll sue over suspension of White House credentials
Playboy senior White House reporter and CNN political analyst Brian Karem said Friday he intends to sue the federal government over the temporary suspension of his White House hard pass credentials last month.
Karem’s credentials were taken away after an altercation with former White House aide Sebastian Gorka during a conservative social media summit in the Rose Garden of the White House on July 11.
In a statement Saturday, Jonathan Karl, the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, said, "The WHCA is deeply concerned about a decision by the White House press secretary to suspend a member's hard pass for 30 days. Such a move could have a chilling effect on working journalists. As we have said before, we believe everyone should conduct themselves professionally at the White House.”
Gorka and Karem got into a shouting match that was captured on video, after Karem described the summit participants as a “group of people that are eager for demonic possession."
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After a bit of back and forth, Gorka shouted at Karem, “You're a punk, you're not a journalist, you're a punk.” Karem then told Gorka to “get a job.”
At one point, Karem suggested they take their conversation “outside,” although they were already in the Rose Garden.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham in a letter said she based the suspension decision on Karem’s “insulting invited guests,” threatening a physical altercation and not leaving when asked by a White House staffer during the event.
A letter written by Karem’s legal team Friday said the suspension violates his First Amendment and due process rights and was “yet another example of this administration’s unconstitutional campaign to punish reporters and press coverage that President Trump doesn’t like.”
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Last fall, the White House took away the credentials of CNN's chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, after a contentious exchange with President Trump in which the White House claimed Acosta had placed his hands on a female intern while trying to hold on to his microphone.
CNN sued and nine days later a judge ordered his credentials restored.
Fox News' Matt Leach contributed to this report.
Fox News' Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.