Chicago Mayor Lightfoot sued by Daily Caller after not granting interview to White reporter
Lawsuit alleges Lightfoot 'purposefully discriminated' against Thomas Catenacci as part of her policy to only grant sitdowns to journalists of color
Conservative watchdog Judicial Watch has sued Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, D., on behalf of the Daily Caller News Foundation, the group announced Thursday, over her policy of granting interviews to only non-White reporters.
The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, alleges Lightfoot violated reporter Thomas Catenacci's equal protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment when she didn't respond to multiple requests for interviews, as well as his First Amendment rights.
Lightfoot made waves earlier this month when she announced she would only grant one-on-one interviews to Black and Brown reporters upon the two-year anniversary of her taking office, scolding the Chicago media for its "overwhelming Whiteness."
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"Preventing journalists from doing our jobs in such a blatantly discriminatory way is wrong and does a disservice to our readers who come from all backgrounds," Catenacci said in a statement. "Every journalist and every person who consumes the news should be concerned by Mayor Lightfoot’s actions. This affects everyone. I look forward to holding the mayor accountable."
Latino Chicago Tribune reporter Gregory Pratt canceled an interview with Lightfoot over her policy, which drew criticism for discriminating in the name of being progressive.
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Lightfoot's office did not return a request for comment.
According to the complaint filed with the courthouse, Catenacci sent Lightfoot emails on May 20, May 21, and May 24, requesting interviews about her administration's efforts to vaccinate Chicagoans and other coronavirus issues. The lawsuit alleges Lightfoot "purposefully discriminated" against Catenacci because of his race, according to her own stated policy.
Lightfoot was interviewed last week by MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle, who is White, making it unclear if she was reserving her race-based policy for only local journalists. Catenacci is defined in the lawsuit as a "national reporter" who covers the economy, politics, and labor issues.
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The suit requests the court require Lightfoot to grant Catenacci's interview request and pay for any attorneys' fees and litigation costs.