Lori Lightfoot compared to The Shining's Jack Nicholson, here's what happened
Sometimes, we all need a bit of a break from work. Having our days clogged up with meetings isn't fun, as one staffer to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot found out. In a bizarre email sent to staffer Taylor Lewis, Lightfoot made her desire for more office time without meetings very apparent. That email is now at the center of a major scandal over high turnover at City Hall, and even sparked some comparisons to Jack Torrance from 'The Shining'.
Film comparisons are nothing new. Back in February 2020, Meghan Markle was compared to Amber Heard for "manipulating" Harry. In January 2021, a toilet scandal involving the secret service agents protecting Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner earned the couple a comparison to Bryce Dallas Howard's character in 'The Help'. On a slightly lighter note, Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg was compared to Walter White for his buzz cut and beard early in the lockdown.
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Lightfoot's comparison to Jack Nicholson's character is definitely not on a lighter note. The Mayor is facing questions over her behavior towards staffers, which has led to high turnover and a dysfunctional government in Chicago. The email revealed doesn't appear to be a one-off, indicating that the city is facing a massive leadership crisis. Here's everything we know about the scandal.
Lightfoot berates staffers, claims 'frustration'
The email at the center of this story was sent by Lightfoot to Lewis in January 2021. It was unveiled by The Chicago Times, which was investigating the high turnover at City Hall. For months now, Chicago has grappled with major challenges in governance, due to the fact that there are simply a lot of vacant positions. "Current and former Lightfoot advisers sometimes complain that she doesn’t take advice and can be difficult to approach," the paper noted. They also found that she can be tough on staff, which has come back to bite her.
On January 28, Lightfoot emailed Lewis on the subject "office time". That appears to be a reference to open time set aside that isn't clogged up with meetings or other obligations. To make her desire for the time very clear, Lightfoot told Lewis 16 times "I need office time everyday". She signed off by saying "Have I made myself clear?!" 13 times. As a result of Lightfoot's nature, Lewis left the 'Diversity cabinet' in June. She isn't the only one.
The Times noted that several of Lightfoot's staffers have since quit their jobs, with only some being replaced. Chief Education Officer LaTanya McDade has left, and Schools COO Arnie Rivera is on his way out. Lightfoot is yet to replace former Water Commissioner Randy Conner who left in 2020. Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson is also leaving, as is Mayoral Deputy chief of staff Anne Sheahan. The turnover is reminiscent of former Mayor Rahm Emmanual's tenure, but the Times noted he didn't seem to have much difficulty in finding replacements.
While further emails, memos and messages are yet to come out, the Lewis email is a prime example of Lightfoot's reportedly difficult nature. On another occasion, she ripped up documents and sent staff a photo of it to illustrate her message, saying, "here's my new practice for memos that come at the last minute." Lightfoot defended that email on Monday, June 14, by saying, "it was born of frustration".
'Lightfoot is like the character Jack in The Shining'
However, that explanation didn't seem to satisfy anyone, least of all social media users who were quick to note it was very similar to the manuscript by Torrance in 'The Shining'. That was in part, inspired by Tucker Carlson. The Fox News host trolled Lightfoot and said, "was she shaking, and spitting, and screaming as she did?" He then proceeded to show a scene from 'The Shining'.
Tucker roasts Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot after newly released emails reveal gross mistreatment of her staff, then compares her to Jack from "The Shining:"— Benny (@bennyjohnson) June 17, 2021
"She needs help— but not as much help as her staff needs. Someone ought to stage a hostage extraction for their sake." pic.twitter.com/cKBJJGGx0U
Responding to that, one user tweeted, "Omg…this segment on #Tucker about Lori Lightfoot is spot on. The comparison of her writing those emails to the Jack Nicholson character in The Shining was hilarious!! She is truly bat $hit crazy." Another said, "The Shining! Boom!!! Exactly. Lightfoot needs psychological help."
Omg…this segment on #Tucker about Lori Lightfoot is spot on. The comparison of her writing those emails to the Jack Nicholson character in The Shining was hilarious!! She is truly bat $hit crazy.— 🇺🇸 🇮🇹Victim Of Circumstance 🍷🍕 (@SignoraCarina) June 17, 2021
The Shining! Boom!!! Exactly. Lightfoot needs psychological help. #Tucker— ROM BlueSkyNJ #MAGA (@BlueRMO) June 17, 2021
One user shared a screenshot of Torrance's manuscript and tweeted, "Lori Lightfoot writing emails to city hall staff." Another person said, "Ms. Lightfoot is like the character Jack in The Shining. She can only repeat herself, as seen in her FOIAd emails."
Lori Lightfoot writing emails to city hall staff pic.twitter.com/lbvUb5xGbt— Trash Isekai Protagonist (@Brainlessmunkey) June 13, 2021
Ms. Lightfoot is like the character Jack in The Shining. She can only repeat herself, as seen in her FOIAd emails.— Gentle Mutt (@GentleMutt) June 15, 2021
There were plenty of other trolls as well. One person said, "Going forward, I will be sending all work emails in the Lori Lightfoot format. No questions at this time." Another joked, "Gonna start sending all work emails in the same insane format as Mayor Lori Lightfoot."
Going forward, I will be sending all work emails in the Lori Lightfoot format. No questions at this time. pic.twitter.com/c8s7bNZxBP— Evan DeSimone (@Smorgasboredom) June 15, 2021
Gonna start sending all work emails in the same insane format as Mayor Lori Lightfoot pic.twitter.com/rVQf36WFSP— Sam Herbst (@mrsamherbst) June 14, 2021
The turnover scandal is just one of Lightfoot's worries. She is also facing a lawsuit filed by The Daily Caller journalist Thomas Catenacci. That suit was filed in late May after Lightfoot announced she would only give one-on-one interviews to Black or Brown journalists, as part of her lifelong battle for diversity and inclusion. Catenacci, who is White, claims the policy violates his First Amendment rights, as well as his Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection.