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Chicago Mayor Sued by News Outlet for Alleged Racial Discrimination Against Whites

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The Daily Caller News Foundation and Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit Thursday against Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot over her refusal to grant a white reporter an interview.

According to the lawsuit, Lightfoot’s refusal to give an interview to Thomas Catenacci violates the reporter and the news organization’s First Amendment rights and the reporter’s right to equal protection under the 14th Amendment, the Daily Caller reported.

“It’s absurd that an elected official believes she can discriminate on the basis of race,” DCNF Editor-in-Chief Ethan Barton said.

“Mayor Lightfoot’s decision is clearly blocking press freedom through racial discrimination.”

The Democratic mayor announced last week that she would be providing one-on-one interviews only to “journalists of color.”

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“If you only have a white reporter covering City Hall, make sure there’s a person of color working with them as well,” Lightfoot wrote in her May 19 letter announcing the decision.

“There are plenty of talented women reporters of color in Chicago for you to hire from, and that pool of talent is growing all the time.”

In an email on May 20, Catenacci had requested an interview with the mayor on a variety of topics, including COVID-19 and the city’s vaccination efforts.

He sent a follow-up email a day later and a third email on May 24.

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“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 lawsuit said.

The lawsuit said that Lightfoot denied the request by “failing to respond in a timely manner” and noted that she is likely aware 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 Thursday.

“Mayor Lightfoot’s admitted policy of race-based discrimination is flagrantly illegal and immoral,” Fitton said. “Simply put, we’re asking the court to find Mayor Lightfoot’s racist abuse unlawful.”

Catenacci said he wants to hold the mayor accountable for her actions.

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“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,” he said in a statement.

“Every journalist and every person who consumes the news should be concerned by Mayor Lightfoot’s actions.”

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith