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Daily Caller News Foundation Sues Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot for ‘Purposefully’ Discriminating Against White Reporter


The Daily Caller News Foundation and reporter Thomas Catenacci filed a lawsuit against Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D), alleging that she “purposefully” discriminated against Catenacci based on race by ignoring his request for an interview.

The complaint, only five pages long, claims Lightfoot violated the DCNF and Catenacci’s First Amendment rights and Catenacci’s “right to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment.”

On May 19, Lightfoot penned a letter promising exclusive “one-on-one interviews with journalists of color” on the two-year anniversary of her inauguration as Chicago’s mayor. The two-year anniversary date was May 20.

The DCNF, a conservative news website represented by Judicial Watch, claims that Catenacci requested a one-on-one interview on May 20 about:

[H]ow her administration plans to encourage more residents to receive the coronavirus vaccine, considering that less than 50% of the city’s residents have been administered a single dose; why she believes Chicago is behind other major cities in their vaccination efforts; how her administration has handled the pandemic compared to other major U.S. cities; and how she plans to encourage residents to eat and shop locally as Chicago’s vaccinated population grows.

Plaintiffs claim that the interview request was ignored, as were follow up emails requesting the same on May 21 and May 24. They believe the interview request was ignored because Catenacci is white.

“On information and belief, 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 complaint says.

Plaintiffs claim Lightfoot violated the First Amendment and the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution, “purposefully discriminat[ing] against Plaintiff Catenacci because of his race by stating that she would only grant interview requests from ‘journalists of color,’ by granting an interview request from at least one Latino reporter, by denying interview requests from White reporters, and by specifically denying Plaintiff Catenacci’s interview request.”

The plaintiffs are now asking a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to declare that Lightfoot violated the Constitution. They are asking the judge issue an injunction and to “order” Lightfoot to “grant Plaintiff Catenacci’s request for an interview.” The suit also seeks attorneys’ fees.

Law&Crime reached out the mayor’s office for comment. We will update this story if we receive a response.

Read the brief complaint below:

[Image via DNCC, Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.