Who is Thomas Catenacci? White reporter sues Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot for allegedly refusing interview

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot allegedly denied his request for an interview simply because he's White, the reporter claimed in a lawsuit


                            Who is Thomas Catenacci? White reporter sues Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot for allegedly refusing interview
Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that she would give interviews to reporters of color to mark her two-year anniversary in office, Thomas Catenacci (Twitter)
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Serving as the 56th mayor of Chicago since 2019, Lori Lightfoot got herself into a bit of legal trouble when a reporter from Daily Caller, Thomas Catenacci alleged he was denied an interview because he is 'White'. Lightfoot is now on the receiving end of a plausible racial discrimination lawsuit after her open declaration that she would only give interviews to people of color. Lightfoot announced on May 18 that she would only grant one-on-one interviews to 'Black and Brown' reporters to mark her two-year anniversary in office.

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Lightfoot's announcement triggered strong reactions from reporters. However, Lightfoot took her words back the next day, insisting it came from a place of her lifelong battle for diversity and inclusion. The issue was highlighted again on Thursday, May 27, when Catenacci sued Lightfoot in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The said lawsuit was filed by Daily Caller News Foundation and Judicial Watch and alleges that Catenacci was denied an interview by Lightfoot, based on his race. The lawsuit also claims Catenacci's First Amendment rights were violated as well as his Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection.

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Who is Thomas Catenacci?

Catenacci is a reporter from Daily Caller, whose emails to Lightfoot's office asking for an interview received no response. According to the lawsuit, 'failing to respond in a timely manner' to the interview requests was similar to denial. It came especially at a time when the mayor's aversion towards granting interviews to 'White' journalists was pretty evident. The reporter wanted to speak to Lightfoot about Chicago's battle against Covid-19 and the vaccination effort in the city.

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"It's absurd that an elected official believes she can discriminate on the basis of race. Mayor Lightfoot’s decision is clearly blocking press freedom through racial discrimination, " DCNF Editor-in-Chief Ethan Barton said in the Daily Caller. The lawsuit doesn't specify if Lightfoot is being sued for damages, but it does include a request for a jury trial.

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"Racial discrimination has no place in America, especially in the halls of government. Mayor Lightfoot’s admitted policy of race-based discrimination is flagrantly illegal and immoral. Simply put, we’re asking the court to find Mayor Lightfoot’s racist abuse unlawful, " Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch commented on the lawsuit.

"Preventing journalists from doing our jobs in such a blatantly discriminatory way is wrong and does a disservice to our readers who come from all backgrounds. Every journalist and every person who consumes the news should be concerned by Mayor Lightfoot’s actions," he continued, " Catenacci said.

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The lawsuit has come after Mayor Lightfoot issued an open letter last week, openly issuing a decree that she would grant one-on-one interviews to journalists of 'color' only. "I have been struck since my first day on the campaign trail back in 2018 by the overwhelming whiteness and maleness of Chicago media outlets, editorial boards, the political press corps, and yes, the City Hall press corps specifically, " Lightfoot wrote.

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Mayor Lightfoot's decree (Office of the Mayor: Chicago)

 

Mayor Lightfoot's decree (Office of the Mayor: Chicago)

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Lightfoot also confirmed in a series of tweets that she was "prioritizing media requests from POC reporters" and that it was a "shame that in 2021, the City Hall Press corps is overwhelmingly white in a city where more than half of the city identifies as Black, Latino, AAPI, or Native American."

Internet reacts to Lori Lightfoot's decree

In a fit of rage, people posted tweets like, "@chicagosmayor is a certified racist against White people according to her own words. This is disgraceful and she must be removed from office!." One said, "@chicagosmayor is a disgrace to the Democratic party! She needs to be voted out. Immediately. I am a Democrat supporter and utterly disgusted by what she said! Go to a retirement village NOW! #ChicagoMayor." Another slammed the mayor and said,  "@chicagosmayor Ms. Lightfoot, I'm only going to interview mayors that don't have prejudice against other people and do not practice population segregation. Best wishes!", while another social media user stated:  "@MaryAnnAhernNBC Why aren't you calling out her for a being a Racist??? If the Mayor was white and said only white reports, you'd be all over it. Why the silence??? Lightfoot Lori Lightfoot."

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A spokesperson for Mayor Lightfoot told TMZ, "The City has not had the opportunity to review the complaint and has not yet been served."