Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is now on the receiving end of a lawsuit after commenting on her statement that she would only give interviews to colored journalists.
Lightfoot, who took office in May 2019, announced on Tuesday that she would only be giving one-on-one interviews to ‘black and brown’ reporters on the occasion of her two-year anniversary in office.
Her announcement about the temporary policy angered journalists of all colors, but Lightfoot doubled down on her decision the next day, insisting it was part of her lifelong struggle for diversity and inclusion.
On Thursday, however, the backlash reached new levels, with a white reporter from the Daily Caller suing Lightfoot in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Lori Lightfoot is now on the receiving end of a backlash lawsuit for her statement that she would only give interviews to journalists of color
Last week, Lightfoot (left) stated that she would only temporarily give one-on-one interviews to ‘black and brown’ journalists. She is now being charged by Thomas Catenacci (right), a white reporter for the Daily Caller who claims he was denied an interview
The lawsuit, filed by Daily Caller News Foundation and Judicial Watch, alleges that Thomas Catenacci was denied an interview by Lightfoot.
The lawsuit alleges that Catenacci’s rights to the First Amendment have been violated, as well as his Fourteenth Amendment’s right to equal protection.
According to the lawsuit, Catenacci sent three emails to Lightfoot’s office requesting an interview to begin on March 20, according to the lawsuit, to which no response was received.
The lawsuit says that ‘failing to respond in a timely manner’ to the interview requests was akin to a denial.
While it doesn’t specify whether Lightfoot is being prosecuted for damages, it does include a request for a jury trial.
Catenacci hoped to talk to her about Chicago’s fight against COVID-19 and the city’s vaccination effort.
“ It is absurd for an elected official to believe she can discriminate based on race, ” said DCNF editor-in-chief Ethan Barton in the Daily caller. “The decision of Mayor Lightfoot clearly blocks freedom of the press through racial discrimination.”
In an open letter last week, Lightfoot explained her decision to exclusively conduct interviews with journalists of color, claiming it is part of a “struggle for diversity and inclusion.”
Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, also commented on the lawsuit.
“Racial discrimination has no place in America, especially in the halls of government,” Fitton said.
Mayor Lightfoot’s recognized policy of racial discrimination is downright illegal and immoral. Simply put, we are asking the court to find Mayor Lightfoot’s racist abuse illegal, ” Fitton added.
Catenacci, meanwhile, says he strives to hold Lightfoot ‘accountable’.
“It is wrong to stop journalists from doing our work in such an overtly discriminatory manner, and it does a disservice to our readers of all backgrounds,” said Catenacci.
“Every journalist and every person who consumes the news should be concerned about Mayor Lightfoot’s actions,” he continued.
The reporter also tweeted about the lawsuit on Thursday morning.
The lawsuit is arguably the most important response since Lightfoot published her open letter last week after news of her decree came out.
“ Since my first day on the campaign trail in 2018, I’ve been struck by the overwhelming whiteness and masculinity of the Chicago media outlets, the editorial staff, the political press and yes, the City Hall press group in particular, ” Lightfoot wrote.
She called it “unacceptable” that reporters covering City Hall were mostly white.
Many of them are smart and hardworking, savvy and skilled. But mostly white, ‘she wrote.
Lightfoot later confirmed in a series of tweets that she deliberately prioritized “ media requests from POC reporters ” and that it was a “ shame ” that the journalists to cover Chicago City Hall in 2021 were predominantly white.
Lightfoot tweeted last week why she prioritized media requests from POC
I ran to break the status quo that so many failed. That is not only in the town hall. It is unfortunate that in 2021 the City Hall press corps will be overwhelmingly white in a city where more than half of the city identifies as black, Latino, AAPI or Native American, ‘she tweeted.
She added: ‘Diversity and inclusion are necessary in all institutions, including the media. To move forward, we must change.
This is exactly why I deliberately prioritize media requests from POC reporters on the occasion of the two-year anniversary of my inauguration as mayor of this great city.
‘This is an imbalance that must change. Chicago is a world class city. Our local media should reflect the many cultures that make up it. We have to be intentional to do better. I believed that when I ran to the office. I now insist on this belief. It is time for the newsrooms to do better and build teams that reflect the makeup of our city. ‘
Lightfoot has faced strong backlash, including from reporters and Tucker Carlson
Backlash against Lightfoot’s decision came quickly.
On his program last Wednesday night, Tucker Carlson described the mayor of Chicago as a Nazi and “a monster.”
To Lori Lightfoot, all that matters is that they are white, because whites are the same. They’re completely determined by the color of their skin, ”Carlson told his Fox news audience.
‘Lori Lightfoot is a monster. Any society that allows politicians to speak this way has a very ugly future ahead. Very ugly.’
Leo Terrell, a civil rights lawyer and Fox news employee, later told Sean Hannity that he thought Lightfoot was racist.
“Lori Lightfoot is a racist – not a racist in disguise, an outright racist,” he said.
The reason she gets away with it is because she’s black and she got the ‘D’ for her name.
Gregory Pratt, a Latino reporter for the Chicago Tribune, revealed he was one of those who got an interview, 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 the day. However, I asked the mayor’s office to lift the condition of others and when they said no, we respectfully canceled, ” Pratt tweeted.
“Politicians cannot choose who covers them.”
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Pulitzer Prize finalist and contributing writer for New Yorker magazine and the New York Times, suggested the move was a way to draw attention to the mayor’s failures.
“Such an amazing mastery of distraction and distraction … always hidden from her disastrous track record of boldly upholding the status quo in Chicago,” tweeted Taylor, who is also a professor at Princeton University.
Newsmax’s Steve Cortes also tweeted, “Don’t mind the thousands of young black men who are dead in my town while Lori Lightfoot is in charge of systemic failure – she’s facilitating ‘healing’ by discriminating against white reporters.”
Following Lightfoot’s statement, local journalist Taylor Moore said the backlash and reaction to the mayor’s decision was “fascinating.”
The response to this is so compelling. White journalists are sad and journalists of color are like ‘lmaooooooo ok ??’, ‘she tweeted.
WGN Newsreader and political reporter Tahman Bradley said, “Lightfoot has had a falling out with certain reporters recently, but her office says she wants to spotlight the lack of diversity in the City Hall briefing room.”