Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Friday responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s lawsuit against her, calling it “frivolous.”
“The lawsuit is completely frivolous,” Lightfoot told CNN Friday morning. “I’d use a more colorful term if we weren’t on TV.”
“But here’s the thing, I’m the mayor of the third largest city in the country. I’m an African American woman, to state the obvious. Everyday when I look out across my podium, I don’t see people who look like me but more to the point I don’t see people who reflect the richness and diversity of this city,” Lightfoot said.
DCNF reporter Thomas Catenacci and Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit on May 27, just over a week after Lightfoot announced the policy on Twitter May 19. Catenacci attempted to secure an interview on May 20, 21 and 24, according to the lawsuit, and was met with repeated non-responses.
“Everyday when I look out across my podium, I don’t see people who…reflect the richness and diversity of the city,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says about limiting one-on-one interviews to reporters of color. “I started a long overdue conversation about diversity in newsrooms” pic.twitter.com/fbZA9WSSqc
— New Day (@NewDay) June 11, 2021
Attorneys for Catenacci and Lightfoot appeared in federal court Monday, where District Judge John Z. Lee ordered Lightfoot’s attorneys to clarify her policy by Friday. Her defense has argued that the policy was only in place for one day, while Catenacci’s attorneys have argued that there is no evidence that the policy is no longer in effect.
“What we saw on Monday … was a really encouraging sign,” Catenacci told Fox News on Thursday. “Essentially, the judge ordered the mayor and the city to state on the record and present to the court its [clarified] policy. What that means is that the city will have to say, ‘Yes, for one day we did discriminate based on race.’ And then from that point forward we’ll see what they give the court.” (RELATED: DCNF Reporter Discusses Lawsuit Against Lori Lightfoot)
“From that point forward, the trial can proceed and we can argue that when I requested an interview on that day that they said they were discriminating, I was, in fact, discriminated against,” Catenacci added.
“We look forward to Mayor Lightfoot’s filing on Friday,” Michael Bekesha, senior attorney at Judicial Watch, said in a statement Monday. “The Court is requiring the Mayor to file a statement under oath about whether her racially discriminatory policy still applies to Catenacci’s and the DCNF’s interview request. More than two weeks later, we still haven’t seen any evidence that it doesn’t.”
Lightfoot’s policy has been widely condemned, including by journalists of color.
One Latino reporter at the Chicago Tribune who was set to interview Lightfoot backed out of the interview 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.”
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