Lori Lightfoot found herself in the hot seat last week after members of the Chicago press corps tweeted out information about how they’d been told by her spokesperson that only “journalists of color” would be allowed to interview her on the topic of her two year anniversary as the city’s mayor.
Lightfoot confirmed the policy in a series of tweets she posted a couple of days later.
“It’s a shame that in 2021, the City Hall press corps is overwhelmingly White in a city where more than half of the city identifies as Black, Latino, AAPI or Native American,” she said. “Diversity and inclusion is imperative … In order to progress we must change. This is exactly why I’m being intentional about prioritizing media requests from POC reporters on the occasion of the two-year anniversary of my inauguration as mayor of this great city.”
Her statement sparked understandable outrage and united reporters in Chicago against her actions, with some noting they were canceling scheduled interviews to show solidarity with their colleagues.
In an update to this story, the first lawsuit by a media outlet has been filed against Lightfoot’s racist interview policy. Earlier today, the Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF) and Judicial Watch announced they were suing Lightfoot, claiming her office’s lack of response to three interview requests from white Daily Caller reporter Thomas Catenacci equated to illegal racial discrimination, violating his First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment rights:
The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, alleges that Lightfoot’s denial violates the DCNF and Catenacci’s First Amendment rights and Catenacci’s right to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment.
“It’s absurd that an elected official believes she can discriminate on the basis of race,” DCNF Editor-in-Chief Ethan Barton said. “Mayor Lightfoot’s decision is clearly blocking press freedom through racial discrimination.”
Per the complaint, which you can read in full here, Catenacci requested an interview with Lightfoot through her office on May 20th to talk about coronavirus-related issues like Chicago’s lagging vaccination rate, how she’d rate her handling of the pandemic in comparison to other cities, etc. He followed up on May 21st and May 24th and did not receive a response.
“By failing to respond in a timely manner, Mayor Lightfoot has denied Plaintiff Catenacci’s request,” the complaint alleges.
Further, the DCNF alleged “on information and belief” that Lightfoot was aware that Catenacci is white, and that because of that and her newly announced policy of interviewing only “journalists of color,” he was being denied the opportunity to sit down and interview her in his capacity as a journalist.
As of this writing, neither Lightfoot nor her office have responded publicly to news of the lawsuit, so it’s unclear at this time whether she’ll back down and stop discriminating against journalists or if she’ll choose to let the drama play out in court and embarrass herself even more.
This has not been a good month at all for Lightfoot. In addition to the backlash over her “journalists of color” policy, her city continues to be plagued with violent crimes at a staggering rate. In addition to that, protesters have been staging demonstrations near her home and complaining about what they say is her failed leadership on defunding the police and other pet issues near and dear to the hearts of “woke” mobs.
As to the lawsuit, we’ll keep you posted on future developments. Stay tuned.