CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago Teachers Union is under fire for a social media post depicting Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot in a way she said was "racist."
The CTU is refusing to apologize for the tweet or delete it, drawing sharp criticism on Twitter and from the mayor herself.
The CTU tweet depicts the mayor being unmasked as though a villain in a Scooby Doo cartoon. It includes the comment "Y'all too much sometimes" with crying face emojis and hashtags calling for defunding police and getting cops out of CPS schools.
The mayor said Thursday morning she had not seen the tweet, but it had been described to her.
"If that kind of tweet, which is clearly racist, had been put forward by a right wing group, we would rightly be denouncing them," Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot said the CTU deserves similar scorn.
The creator of the meme, who posted it on Instagram under the handle @electricstripe, called on Lightfoot to fund school and neighborhoods instead of police later explaining
"It's a perspective on Lori Lightfoot's stance to not defund the Chicago police force. In the traditional unmasking of the villain, you see Lori was behind the police all along," the creator said.
In a statement, CTU said: "Our intent was, as it always has been, to stir the powerful from their slumber and stand steadfast behind those Black people -- and especially young Black leaders -- in their struggle for a new Chicago built on real justice, not broken promises and failed policies."
During a webinar, the Anti Defamation League called on CTU to apologize to the mayor, and likened the tweet to those seen on extremist chat rooms.
"You know, you can make intellectual arguments about disagreements. But you can do and you can do it without the racist undertone of memes like this," said David Goldenberg, a spokesman for the Anti Defamation League.
"I think the more the CTU engages in this kind of thing, the less and less relevant they are to important narratives in our city," Lightfoot said.
The mayor went on to call the tweet disappointing, accusing the teachers union of borrowing tactics from the right wing playbook.
CTU spokesman Chris Geovannis released a statement saying, "Black organizers and activists have been risking their lives to advance a set of clear demands to begin to correct injustices perpetrated by our racist system: establish a civilian accountability police board, defund the police and invest directly in our communities, remove CPD from our public schools and invest in students' well-being, institute an elected civilian review board to govern our police, and establish Juneteenth as a paid civic holiday just as was done for Columbus and Pulaski. To every demand this mayor and this administration has offered a resounding "no."
"It's striking that so many of those outraged over a meme have little to nothing to say about the nullification of those most responsible for this moment.
"In this time of deep emotional anguish over visceral images of racial hatred, we empathize with our Black brothers and sisters who are triggered by any image that reminds us of the violence perpetrated against us in this land over 400 years and counting.
"Our intent was, as it always has been, to stir the powerful from their slumber and stand steadfast behind those Black people -- and especially young Black leaders -- in their struggle for a new Chicago built on real justice, not broken promises and failed policies."