Former Democratic presidential candidate and Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard demanded Friday that Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot resign for offering personal interviews only to “black and brown” journalists.
Gabbard called the mayor’s actions “blatant anti-white racism” and said the decision warranted her stepping down from the office. “Mayor Lightfoot’s blatant anti-white racism is abhorrent,” Gabbard tweeted. “I call upon President Biden, Kamala Harris, and other leaders of our county — of all races — to join me in calling for Mayor Lightfoot’s resignation.”
“Our leaders must condemn all racism, including anti-white,” she continued.
Lightfoot announced earlier this week that she would be “prioritizing media requests from POC reporters” in celebration of “the occasion of the two-year anniversary of my inauguration as mayor of this great city.” Her spokesman later told a local reporter that she was granting interview requests from black and Hispanic reporters exclusively.
The mayor has insisted that more ethnic and cultural diversity be introduced into the city’s newsrooms to foster racial equity and inclusion. She cited the “overwhelming whiteness and maleness” of the city’s media outlets as justification for her new policy.
“This is an imbalance that needs to change,” Lightfoot wrote on Twitter. “Chicago is a world-class city. Our local media should reflect the multiple cultures that comprise it.”
Lightfoot defended her position Wednesday by saying that “Black and Brown community leaders” brought biased reporting to her attention, leading her to declare a temporary moratorium on interviewing white reporters as the redress.
“We must be intentional about doing better,” she added. “I believed that when running for office. I stand on this belief now. It’s time for the newsrooms to do better and build teams that reflect the make-up of our city.”
One local Hispanic reporter canceled his interview with Lightfoot after she refused his request that she lift the discriminatory policy. The National Association of Black Journalists also spoke out against the policy, saying that while they agree diversity is a problem in the news business, they “cannot support” a policy which marginalizes journalists based on race.