WASHINGTON, D.C. — A reporter from the Washington Blade, the capital’s gay newspaper, was barred from a Pride event at the U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday, the newspaper reported.
During remarks by Assistant Attorney General for National Security Dana Boente, a Justice Department approached reporter Chris Johnson and told him that the event was closed to the press.
From the Washington Blade:
The closed-press rule for the event is unusual. The Blade attended and covered DOJ Pride events as a member of the press numerous times during the Obama administration — under both former U.S. Attorneys General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch.
The Blade was also allowed under the Trump administration to cover a Pride event for LGBT service members and civilians at the Pentagon with full cooperation of officials. Washington Blade Editor Kevin Naff delivered the keynote address last week at the Small Business Administration’s Pride event.
The Blade reported that the DOJ had sent an email saying the event would be closed to the press, but it had not been received until the reporter was already entering the event.
“These events have historically been open to the media and this action at DOJ today is an unfortunate break with tradition,” Naff said in the article. “Holding Pride celebrations behind closed doors violates the very spirit of such events and we urge all government agencies to let the sun shine in.”
The DOJ is lead by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has a long history of anti-LGBTQ actions as a senator.