Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Sued For Only Doing Interviews With People Of Colour
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is facing legal action over her decision to only accept media interviews with people of colour.
Lightfoot is being sued by a reporter from right-wing news site The Daily Caller, who claims that her office’s refusal to grant him a one-on-one interview amounted to racial discrimination.
Thomas Catenacci claims that denying interviews with white journalists like himself violates the Fourteenth Amendment clause that guarantees all US citizens ‘equal protection under the law’. Catenacci also argues that rejecting his interview requests represents a violation of the First Amendment clause mandating a constitutional freedom of the press.
In legal documents obtained by TMZ, lawyers for Catenacci claim that the Daily Caller journalist sent three emails requesting a one-on-one interview with Lightfoot, but was stonewalled by her office.
According to the documents, Catenacci says that Lightfoot’s team granted at least one other person – a Latina journalist – a one-on-one meeting while continuing to refuse to respond to his requests.
The lawsuit comes a week after Lightfoot marked the second anniversary of her inauguration as Chicago Mayor by announcing that she would be exclusively offering one-on-one interviews to journalists of colour.
Lightfoot said that she made the decision after observing that Chicago’s large male and overwhelmingly white media landscape did not adequately reflect the city’s population. Two-thirds of Chicago residents are people of colour, per The Washington Post.
In a letter, Lightfoot wrote:
As a person of color, I have throughout my adult life done everything I can to fight for diversity and inclusion in every institution that I have been part of and being Mayor makes me uniquely situated to shine a spotlight on this most important issue.
Response to the decision has been mixed, with some journalists arguing that while highlighting the lack of diversity in journalism was necessary and commendable, the decision could serve as a barrier to transparency from a mayor who has previously faced criticism over her a perceived unwillingness to respond to criticism.
Speaking to the Post, Chicago Sun-Times reporter Manny Ramos said that the time of the announcement raised questions. ‘I just don’t understand why now,’ he said. ‘I’m wanting to understand, why did it take two years for this? Did my questions not matter until now?’
In response to the decision, Gregory Pratt – a Latino reporter at the Chicago Tribune – said he had cancelled his scheduled interview with the mayor, tweeting, ‘Politicians don’t get to choose who covers them.’
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