Asked about her controversial decision to exclude white reporters from one on one interviews, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot doubled down and said she’d do it again.
“I would absolutely do it again,” Lightfoot said while on the NY Times podcast Sway, I’m unapologetic about it because it spurred a very important conversation, a conversation that needed to happen, that should have happened a long time ago.”
“Here is the bottom line for me: To state the obvious, I’m a black woman mayor. I’m the mayor of the third-largest city in the country,” Lightfoot explained. “Obviously, I have a platform, and it’s important to me to advocate on things that I believe are important. Going back to why I ran — to disrupt the status quo. The media is critically important to our democracy. … The media is in a time of incredible upheaval and disruption, but our City Hall press corps looks like it’s 1950 or 1970.”
Pressed on the subject, Lightfoot said “No, it’s not about me choosing who covers me, right? I gave exclusive interviews and we do get to choose who we talk to in exclusives. I gave exclusive interviews with journalists of color, right?”
“One 24-hour period and it was like people’s heads exploded. I had journalists saying, ‘Does the mayor think I’m racist?’ No, it’s not about individuals. It’s about systemic racism,” she claimed.
In May, Lightfoot declared in a letter “By now, you may have heard the news that on the occasion of the two-year anniversary of my inauguration as Mayor of this great City, I will be exclusively providing one-on-one interviews with journalists of color.”
“As a person of color, I have throughout my adult life done everything that I can to fight for diversity and inclusion in every institution that I have been a part of and being Mayor makes me uniquely situated to shine a spotlight on this most important issue,” the letter continued.