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Conservative media outlet sues Lightfoot over interviews to reporters of color

The mayor announced last week she would only grant interview requests from reporters of color “on the occasion of the two-year anniversary” of her inauguration. The lawsuit wrongly suggests Lightfoot had announced an ongoing policy.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a news conference Monday.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

A conservative media outlet filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against Mayor Lori Lightfoot over her decision this month to grant interviews only to reporters of color to mark her two-year anniversary in office.

Judicial Watch, another conservative organization, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Daily Caller News Foundation and reporter Thomas Catenacci, who covers labor, the economy and politics.

Lightfoot announced last week that she would only grant interview requests from reporters of color “on the occasion of the two-year anniversary” of her inauguration. The Daily Caller’s lawsuit wrongly suggests Lightfoot had announced an ongoing policy.

The complaint alleges that Lightfoot has since granted at least one interview request from a self-identified Latino reporter but denied or failed to respond to interview requests from white reporters, including Catenacci.

Catenacci sought an interview with Lightfoot on May 20 to ask how her administration would encourage more people to take the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the complaint. It alleges that Catenacci sent follow-up emails May 21 and again last Monday, but Lightfoot’s office did not respond.

The lawsuit claims that Catenacci has been denied an interview because he is not a “journalist of color,” in violation of his rights under the First and Fourteenth amendments.

A spokeswoman for City Hall’s Law Department said in a statement, “The city has not had the opportunity to review the complaint and has not yet been served.”

In an article published Thursday by the Daily Caller, Editor-in-Chief Ethan Barton said, “It’s absurd that an elected official believes she can discriminate on the basis of race.”

Catenacci added on Twitter, “I look forward to holding her accountable.”