Playboy White House correspondent says he’ll sue over suspended credentials


Playboy White House correspondent Brian Karem said Friday he intends to sue after the White House suspended his press credentials for a month.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham wrote a 13-page letter explaining her decision in which she cited Karem’s actions in the Rose Garden following a social media summit last month with some of President Trump’s supporters.

Grisham suspended Karem’s hard pass effective immediately through Sept. 14. Karem, who is also a contributor to CNN, said he and his attorneys intend to take legal action to seek the restoration of his credentials.{mosads}

“The White House press secretary’s arbitrary decision to suspend Brian Karem’s hard pass press credential violates the First Amendment and due process and is yet another example of this administration’s unconstitutional campaign to punish reporters and press coverage that President Trump doesn’t like,” said Ted Boutrous, an attorney representing Karem.

The central issue in the case is an exchange between Karem and former White House adviser Sebastian Gorka on July 11.

After Trump announced he would drop his lawsuit to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, he walked back into the White House and Karem shouted asking if he would stay and take questions.

Gorka began engaging with Karem before getting up to approach the reporter.

“You’re not a journalist. You’re a punk,” Gorka said to Karem, who invited the former Trump adviser to “go outside and have a long talk.”

Another social media summit attendee shouted to Karem that Gorka would “kick your f—ing ass,” while Trump tweeted the next day that Gorka “Wins Big, No Contest!”

Grisham wrote that she based her decision on videos of the incident, the observations of a Secret Service agent in attendance and Karem’s recounting of the exchange.

“In my judgment, a permanent revocation would be too great a punishment for the conduct involved here,” Grisham wrote. “Taking no action, on the other hand, would be insufficient to deter Mr. Karem and other members of the press from disrupting White House events.”

This marks the second high-profile case of the White House suspending or revoking a reporter’s hard pass, which grants regular access to the building.

The administration revoked CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s credential last year after it said he made contact with an intern while trying to hang onto the microphone to ask President Trump a question. A federal judge ordered the White House to restore Acosta’s credential, saying the administration did not follow any established process in its decision.

The White House has had an acrimonious relationship with the news media dating back to Trump’s time on the campaign. Regular press briefings have all but stopped, and Trump regularly derides outlets and reporters he dislikes as “fake news” and the “enemy of the people.”

Tags Donald Trump Jim Acosta Sebastian Gorka Stephanie Grisham

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