Daily Caller sues Chicago mayor for limiting interviews to people of color

The Daily Caller News Foundation and one of its reporters is suing Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) over her policy of granting one-on-one media interviews only to people of color.

The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois accuses Lightfoot of ignoring an interview request from Thomas Catenacci, a reporter for the conservative publication, because he is not a “journalist of color.”

The suit, filed by conservative government watchdog group Judicial Watch, claims Lightfoot violated Catenacci’s First Amendment and equal protection rights.

The mayor’s office has not yet filed a legal response to the suit, according to a federal court electronic records database.

“The City has not had the opportunity to review the complaint and has not yet been served,” the Chicago Department of Law said when asked about the suit.

Catenacci referred questions about the suit to Judicial Watch.

“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 suit states.

The lawsuit asks the court to force Lightfoot to give Catenacci an interview and also pay the plaintiffs’ attorneys fees and litigation costs.

The suit comes just over a week after Lightfoot announced she would give one-on-one media interviews only to reporters of color covering her two-year anniversary in office. 

According to the suit, Catenacci sent three emails starting May 20 requesting an interview with Lightfoot to discuss COVID-19 vaccination issues in Chicago and never received a reply.

This was after Lightfoot made her announcement about interviews with people of color, and after she granted an interview to a “self-identified Latino reporter,” the lawsuit states.

Lightfoot’s policy drew swift criticism from local Chicago reporters after it was announced, with one Chicago Tribune journalist declining a scheduled interview with the mayor in protest.

“I am a Latino reporter @chicagotribune whose interview request was granted for today,” the Tribune’s City Hall reporter Gregory Pratt tweeted at the time.

“However, I asked the mayor’s office to lift its condition on others and when they said no, we respectfully canceled. Politicians don’t get to choose who covers them,” Pratt added.

Updated at 4:03 p.m.

Tags Lori Lightfoot Press freedom
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