On May 18, 2021, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office informed multiple reporters that she would grant one-on-one interviews “only to Black or Brown journalists.” The next day, the mayor released a letter doubling down on her discriminatory policy. Since that time, the Mayor has granted at least one interview request from a self-identified Latino reporter and none to white reporters.
Daily Caller News Foundation reporter Thomas Catenacci, a white male, emailed Mayor Lightfoot’s office requesting a one-on-one interview with the Mayor. The office never replied to the request or to two additional follow up emails from Catenacci.
In response, we filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Daily Caller News Foundation and Catenacci against the mayor for violating their First Amendment Rights and Catenacci’s right to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment (Catenacci et al. v Lightfoot (No. 1:21-cv-02852)).
We filed suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. Christine Svenson of Svenson Law Offices in Chicago, Illinois, is assisting us with the lawsuit.
Our suit alleges that Mayor Lightfoot purposefully discriminated against Catenacci, “because of his race by stating that she would only grant interview requests from ‘journalists of color’….”
“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,” said Daily Caller reporter Thomas Catenacci. “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.”
“It’s absurd that an elected official believes she can discriminate on the basis of race. Mayor Lightfoot’s decision is clearly blocking press freedom through racial discrimination,” Daily Caller News Foundation Editor-in-Chief Ethan Barton said.
Racial discrimination has no place in America, especially in the halls of government. Mayor Lightfoot’s admitted policy of race-based discrimination is flagrantly illegal and immoral. Simply put, we’re asking the court to find Mayor Lightfoot’s racist abuse unlawful.
(Mr. Catenacci and I appeared on Fox News to discuss the lawsuit. You can view the report here.)