A conservative media outlet filed a lawsuit against Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, accusing the Democrat of discriminating against a white reporter by sticking to her announcement not to grant interviews with white people.
The Daily Caller alleges that Lightfoot violated the First Amendment rights of the outlet and reporter Thomas Catenacci, as well as infringing on Catenacci’s equal protection rights under the 14th Amendment. Judicial Watch, a conservative activist group, filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.
“It’s absurd that an elected official believes she can discriminate on the basis of race,” said Ethan Barton, editor in chief of the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Mayor Lightfoot’s decision is clearly blocking press freedom through racial discrimination.”
Lightfoot released a two-page letter on May 19 outlining why she will grant one-on-one interviews only with people of color. She called out the “overwhelming whiteness and maleness of Chicago media outlets, editorial boards, [and] the political press corps” and said she must “take on the labor of educating” white people of their “implicit bias.”
Chicago Republican Party Chairman Steve Boulton told The Federalist a day after Lightfoot’s announcement that “she is hiding behind the race issue because she feels that it will go to her base.”
“It’s disturbing that Lightfoot would choose racial issues as a means of distraction from her failing policies, given the recent violence the city has been suffering,” Boulton added.
Since releasing the letter, Lightfoot has not granted an interview with a white reporter. Catenacci contacted the mayor on Wednesday but did not hear any word back.
“On May 20, 2021, Plaintiff Catenacci requested, by email, a one-on-one interview with Mayor Lightfoot,” the lawsuit states. “Plaintiff Catenacci sent a follow-up email on May 21, 2021. He also sent a third email on May 24, 2021. As of the date of this Complaint, Mayor Lightfoot’s office has not responded to Plaintiff Catenacci’s request nor has Mayor Lightfoot agreed to an interview with Plaintiff Catenacci.”
The suit claims Lightfoot essentially denied the reporter’s request by “failing to respond in a timely manner,” which comes on the heels of the knowledge that Catenacci is “not a journalist of color.”
“Racial discrimination has no place in America, especially in the halls of government,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “Mayor Lightfoot’s admitted policy of race-based discrimination is flagrantly illegal and immoral.”