Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot defends hairstylist visit amid coronavirus outbreak

“I’m the public face of this city. I’m on national media and I’m out in the public eye,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.
Image: Lori Lightfoot
Mayor Lori Lightfoot during a news conference in Chicago on April 10, 2020.Nam Y. Huh / AP

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By Wilson Wong

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a Democrat, defended a haircut she received recently despite salons and barbershops shutting down under the state’s stay-at-home order.

Lightfoot was criticized for her actions after previously stating in one of her public service announcements that “getting your roots done is not essential,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

The controversy began when the stylist posted photos with the mayor on Facebook last weekend, thanking her for her hard work and saying she had the “pleasure of giving Mayor Lightfoot a hair trim.”

The stylist was wearing a mask and gloves, the mayor said in defense of her haircut during a press conference earlier this week. “I’m the public face of this city. I’m on national media and I’m out in the public eye.”

The mayor added that the public is more concerned with other issues. “I think what really people want to talk about is, we’re talking about people dying here. We’re talking about significant health disparities. I think that’s what people care most about,” Lightfoot said.

Her explanation drew criticism from Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, a democratic socialist.

“She is under no obligation to look good on national TV. She is under no obligation to book national interviews,” Ramirez-Rosa, a frequent critic of Lightfoot, tweeted. “But she is under an obligation to follow and promote social distance in order to save lives.”

“This is a bad example for our city.”

While Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker couldn’t speak to the mayor’s decision to get a haircut, he said he hasn’t received a trim since the state’s stay-at-home order.

“I’m going to turn into a hippie at some point,” he said.

CORRECTION (April, 11, 2020, 2:05 p.m.): A previous version of this article misstated which state J.B. Pritzker is the governor of. It is Illinois, not Michigan.