Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Frivolous Lawsuit Decision Gives Interviews to Black and Brown Journalists
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has said a lawsuit against her because she only awards interviews to “black and brown” journalists is “frivolous.”
Lightfoot, who took office in May 2019, announced last month that she would only be giving one-on-one interviews to reporters of color to mark her two-year anniversary in office.
The announcement of the temporary policy sparked the ire of reporters of all colors, but Lightfoot redoubled her decision, insisting it was part of her lifelong fight for diversity and inclusion.
Lightfoot, Chicago’s first black woman and first openly gay mayor, said on May 19 that she was allowing interviews exclusively to journalists of color on the occasion of the second anniversary of her inauguration on May 20.
On Friday, she explained to CNN her reasons for the rule, which lasted just one day.
Lori Lightfoot last month said she would only give interviews to people of color and has labeled a lawsuit against her as “frivolous” by a white reporter.
“Every day when I look across my stage, I don’t see people who… reflect the richness and diversity of the city,” says Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot of limiting one-on-one interviews to colored people. reporters. “I started a long-awaited discussion about diversity in newsrooms” pic.twitter.com/fbZA9WSSqc
— New day (@NewDay) June 11, 2021
In an open letter last week, Lightfoot explained its decision to interview only journalists of color, claiming it is part of a “fight for diversity and inclusion.”
Lightfoot’s temporary policy, which would last only one day, was to draw attention to a lack of diversity in newsrooms in the city of Chicago.
“The lawsuit is completely frivolous. I’d use a more colorful term if we weren’t on TV. But here’s the thing, I’m the mayor of the third largest city in the country. I am an African American woman, to say the obvious. Every day when I look across my stage, I don’t see people who look like me, but even more, I don’t see people who reflect the richness and diversity of this city,” Mayor Lightfoot said.
‘I started a long-awaited conversation about diversity in newsrooms, in reporting. You are the mirrors of society. You reflect on the news of the day with a critical and important lens. You hold officials like me accountable. You have to be diverse, I can’t be like that in a city like Chicago, with all the talent we have, that we can’t find diverse journalists of color. Of course we can. What they need are opportunities,” she continued.
“I hope my conversation has raised awareness among the people who hire staff in media rooms in this city and hopefully across the country. We have to do better.’
Lori Lightfoot is on the receiving end of a lawsuit after backlash for her statement that she would only give interviews to journalists of color
At the time of her one-day reign, she said it was intended to draw attention to the fact that the City Hall press corps is “overwhelmingly white” and masculine in a city where whites are only about a third of the population.
“Since my first day on the campaign trail in 2018, I have been struck by the overwhelming whiteness and masculinity of the media, newsrooms, the political press and yes, the City Hall press office in particular,” Lightfoot wrote in a press release. statement.
She called it “unacceptable” that reporters who filmed City Hall were largely white.
“Many of them are smart and hardworking, smart and capable. But mostly white,” she wrote.
Critics of the decision included Fox News host Tucker Carlson who called Lightfoot “a monster” and racist.
Last week, Lightfoot (left) stated that she would only give one-on-one interviews to “black and brown” journalists on a temporary basis. She is now being sued by Thomas Catenacci (right), a white Daily Caller reporter who claims he was denied an interview
Lightfoot reiterated her stance at a May 20 anniversary event, where she also called on media organizations to diversify their workforce.
“The fact that City Hall’s press corps is predominantly white, has little diversity, is a disgrace,” Lightfoot said.
“One day in 365 I say I’m going to celebrate the anniversary of my two years in office by giving exclusive one-on-ones to journalists of color, and the world is going crazy.”
The backlash was swift, however, with a white Daily Caller reporter suing Lightfoot in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
The lawsuit, filed by the Daily Caller News Foundation and Judicial Watch, alleged that Thomas Catenacci was denied an interview by Lightfoot.
Lightfoot tweeted last month about why she prioritized POC media requests
The lawsuit alleges that Catenacci’s rights to the First Amendment have been violated, as well as his right to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment.
Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, also commented on the lawsuit.
“Racial discrimination has no place in America, especially in government halls,” Fitton said.
Mayor Lightfoot’s admitted policy of racial discrimination is blatantly illegal and immoral. Simply put, we’re asking the court to declare the racial abuse of Mayor Lightfoot illegal,” Fitton added.
Lightfoot, Chicago’s first black woman and first openly gay mayor, has faced fierce opposition, including from reporters and Tucker Carlson
Catenacci, meanwhile, says he wants to hold Lightfoot “responsible.”
“It is wrong to prevent journalists from doing our work in such a blatantly discriminatory manner, and it does a disservice to our readers, who come from all backgrounds,” Catenacci said.
University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone told the Chicago Tribune that he expects the court to dismiss the lawsuit. He noted that officials often choose which media to prefer, and that Lightfoot said the decision applied to a single date and was not a general policy.
“Since she’s only talking about one day, it seems excessive to make a fuss about it,” Stone said.
Gregory Pratt, a Latino reporter for the Chicago Tribune, revealed that he was one of those who received an interview from Lightfoot in May explaining her actions, but the paper canceled it when Lightfoot refused to lift its ban on other reporters. .
“I am a Latino reporter @chicagotribune whose interview request has been granted for today. However, I asked the mayor’s office to lift others’ terms and when they said no, we respectfully canceled,” Pratt tweeted.
“Politicians can’t choose who covers them.”
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, a Pulitzer Prize finalist and contributing writer for New Yorker magazine and the New York Times, suggested the move was a way to draw the attention of the mayor’s failures.
“Such an astonishing mastery of deflection and distraction … always hidden from her disastrous track record of boldly maintaining the status quo in Chicago,” tweeted Taylor, who is also a professor at Princeton University.
Newsmax’s Steve Cortes also tweeted, “Leave the thousands of young black men dead in my town while Lori Lightfoot is in charge of systemic failure – she facilitates ‘healing’ by discriminating against white reporters.”
After Lightfoot’s statement, local journalist Taylor Moore said the backlash and reaction to the mayor’s decision was “fascinating.”
“The reactions to this are so fascinating. White journalists are mortified and journalists of color are like ‘lmaoooooooo ok??,’ she tweeted.
WGN News host and political reporter Tahman Bradley said: “Lightfoot has had a falling out with certain reporters recently, but her office says she wants to highlight the lack of diversity in the City Hall briefing room.”