A federal court has scheduled a hearing on the Daily Caller News Foundation’s preliminary injunction motion in its lawsuit against Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot for Monday, June 7 at 12 p.m. eastern time.
The DCNF and Judicial Watch filed the suit on May 27 on behalf of one of its reporters, Thomas Catenacci, after his repeated attempts to interview Lightfoot went unanswered. The suit alleges that Catenacci, who is white, was denied an interview with Lightfoot due to his race.
In May, Lightfoot announced that she would only grant interviews to journalists of color to celebrate her two years in office.
“It’s bonkers that we had to file this lawsuit,” DCNF President Neil Patel said Friday. “Chicago’s mayor should not be discriminating against journalists based on their color. That’s something that every normal American understands.”
Lightfoot denied Catenacci’s request by “failing to respond in a timely manner,” the lawsuit said, claiming that based “on information and belief,” Lightfoot is aware that Catenacci is “not a journalist of color.”
“There is no excuse for racial discrimination,” Catenacci previously said. “Every day that goes by without the Mayor granting my interview request because of my race violates my rights and tramples on the First Amendment.”
Judicial Watch on Thursday filed a motion for an injunction against Lightfoot on behalf of the DCNF and Catenacci, again demanding that the mayor stop denying him an interview due to his race.
“As the courts have found: The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “We’re interested to see Mayor Lightfoot’s explanations to the court for her racist policy.”
In an interview on “Fox & Friends” May 29, Catenacci said that he was initially “shocked” at Lightfoot’s policy.
“I think that we shouldn’t live in a country where anyone is treated worse than anyone else or given opportunities that anyone else is otherwise given solely because of race,” Catenacci said. “Like a lot of people out there, I was just really surprised that an elected official would do something like this.” (RELATED: DCNF Reporter Discusses Lawsuit Against Lori Lightfoot)
Lightfoot’s policy has been widely condemned, including by journalists of color.
One Latino reporter at the Chicago Tribune who had the opportunity to interview Lightfoot declined to do so after the mayor refused to rescind her policy.
“I asked the mayor’s office to lift its condition on others and when they said no, we respectfully canceled,” Tribune reporter Gregory Pratt wrote on Twitter. “Politicians don’t get to choose who covers them.”
Lightfoot defended her policy, saying she wanted more diversity among journalists covering her administration.
“Diversity and inclusion is imperative across all institutions and media,” she tweeted earlier in May. “In order to progress we must change.”
“This is exactly why I’m being intentional about prioritizing media requests about POC reporters on the occasion of the two-year anniversary of my inauguration as mayor of this great city,” Lightfoot said.
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