Chicago Mayor Lightfoot to Hold Interviews With 'Black or Brown' Journalists Only

Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot (D.) / Getty Images
May 19, 2021

Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot (D.) said Wednesday that she will grant interviews only to "black or brown" journalists, according to local reporters.

"As ⁦@chicagosmayor reaches her two year midway point as mayor, her spokeswoman says Lightfoot is granting 1 on 1 interviews—only to Black or Brown journalists," NBC Chicago reporter Mary Ann Ahern tweeted Tuesday. Two local PBS reporters also confirmed Lightfoot's policy.

The mayor said her racial restrictions will promote "diversity and inclusion."

"It's 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," Lightfoot tweeted. "Diversity and inclusion is imperative across all institutions including media. In order to progress we must change. This is exactly why I'm being intentional about prioritizing media requests from POC reporters."

Some local journalists are challenging Lightfoot's directive. Chicago Tribune reporter Gregory Pratt, who is Hispanic, canceled an interview with the mayor Wednesday after Lightfoot's office refused to change its restrictions.

"Politicians don't get to choose who covers them," Pratt tweeted.

It is unclear if Lightfoot's policy extends to national outlets. MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle, who is white, interviewed Lightfoot on her show Monday.

Democratic mayors of major U.S. cities have focused on so-called racial equity in the wake of George Floyd's death last year. In March, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio (D.) announced the creation of a commission to "dismantle structural racism for all New Yorkers." The commission's chairwoman said the committee could recommend reparations for minority residents, according to the New York Times.