A conservative foundation filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a white reporter Thursday, alleging Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot "purposefully discriminated" against the reporter by stating she would only grant interviews to journalists of color, the lawsuit stated.
Thomas Catenacci, a reporter with the Daily Caller News Foundation, emailed Lightfoot's office on May 20 and requested a one-on-one interview with the mayor, however, the office didn't reply to the request or two subsequent emails from Catenacci, according to the foundation Judicial Watch.
Last week, Lightfoot announced she would grant one-on-one interviews to mark the second anniversary of her inauguration, however said she would only speak with journalists of color.
Lightfoot called the racial make-up of the City Hall press corps "an imbalance that needs to change," adding that Chicago's local media "should reflect the multiple cultures that comprise it."
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While some on social media praised the move as "equity" and a step forward in representation, many others criticized the decision.
Since May 19, when Lightfoot released a letter "doubling down on her discriminatory policy," the mayor has granted "at least one interview request from a self-identified Latino reporter and none to white reporters," the news release stated.
According to the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Lightfoot denied Catenacci's request by "failing to respond in a timely matter."
Catenacci said "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."
"“Every journalist and every person who consumes the news should be concerned by Mayor Lightfoot’s actions," he said in the news release. "This affects everyone. I look forward to holding the mayor accountable.”
The city of Chicago's Department of Law said it has not had the opportunity to review the complaint and has not yet been served.