Former Democrat presidential candidate and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, called out Chicago's Democrat Mayor Lori Lightfoot for being an "anti-white" racist by saying she would only speak with "journalists of color."
Gabbard wrote in a Twitter post Friday:
"Mayor Lightfoot's blatant anti-white racism is abhorrent. I call upon President [Joe] Biden, [Vice President] 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."
Chicago journalist Mary Ann Ahern put out a post on Twitter on May 18, claiming the first-term mayor was only granting one-on-one interviews to "Black and brown" journalists.
"I ran to break up the status quo that was failing so many," Lightfoot, who is Black, said in a USA Today story. "That isn't just in City Hall. 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's declaration drew both positive and negative comments from the city's press corps.
Chicago Tribune City Hall reporter Gregory Pratt tweeted:
"I am a Latino reporter @chicagotribune whose interview request was granted for today. However, I asked the mayor's office to lift its condition on others and when they said no, we respectfully canceled. Politicians don't get to choose who covers them."
Others supported Lightfoot's decision.
The TRiiBE, a Chicago-based digital, Black-oriented media platform tweeted Wednesday:
"With this outrage, y'all are implying that Black and Brown journalists aren't capable of asking the hard questions."
Gabbard's tweet also drew criticism.
Writer Charolette Clymer responded in a tweet:
"There is no such thing as 'anti-white racism.' There are no systemic or widely cultural barriers for white people that infringe on how we move through the world. This is silly as hell."
According to USA Today, a 2018 Pew Research Center analysis found 75% of newsroom employees were white, and reporters of color said they were "shut out" getting "high profile interviews."
"The press corps is the filter through which much of what we do in government is dissected and explained to the public," Lightfoot wrote in a letter to the city's press corps. "And yet despite the many talents and skills of our reporting corps, I fear this arm of our democratic system is on life support. The Chicago media leadership must evolve with the times to be a true reflection of the vibrant, vast diversity of our city."
Lightfoot is no stranger to controversy since taking office in 2019.
She has frequently found herself butting heads on racial inequality issues with organizations like the police, teachers unions, and how officials handled the pandemic.
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