Consolidated Press News File

May 29, 2021

CHICAGO — A white reporter for a conservative news organization is suing Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, alleging that she discriminated against him because of his race when she granted interviews to only journalists of color around the midpoint of her first term.

In the case, Thomas Catenacci and his employer, the Daily Caller News Foundation, claim that Lightfoot violated their First Amendment rights and Catenacci’s right to equal protection by refusing to reply to an interview request on her second anniversary in office and subsequent days.  The nonprofit Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit in federal court in Chicago on Thursday.

Lightfoot, Chicago’s first Black female and lesbian mayor, said on May 19 that she would only give interviews to journalists of color on the second anniversary of her inauguration on May 20.  She claimed it was done to highlight the fact that the City Hall press corps is “overwhelmingly white” and male in a city where white people make up just around one-third of the population.

At a May 20 ceremony commemorating the occasion, Lightfoot reaffirmed her view while also urging media businesses to diversify their workforces.

“The fact that the City Hall press corps is overwhelmingly white, has very little in the way of diversity, is an embarrassment,” Lightfoot said. “One day out of 365, I say that I’m going to mark the anniversary of my two years in office by giving exclusive one-on-ones to journalists of color, and the world loses its mind.”

According to Catenacci’s lawsuit, he requested a one-on-one interview with Lightfoot by email on May 20, 21, and 24.  According to the lawsuit, he had not gotten a response from her office as of Thursday’s filing.

“On information and belief, Defendant is aware that Plaintiff Catenacci is not a ‘journalist of color,’ and Defendant has denied Plaintiff’s interview request pursuant to her announcement that she will only grant interview requests from ‘journalists of color,’” the lawsuit states.

A spokesperson from Lightfoot’s regime said that the city is evaluating the complaint and that no more comment could be made because the case is still being litigated.