Nick Sandmann settled his reported $250 million dollar defamation lawsuit against The Washington Post (WaPo) on his 18th birthday which was July 24th, 2020. The Washington Post is one outlet of many that immediately depicted Sandmann as the villain in a viral video last year that featured Sandmann in a confrontation with a Native American man.
WaPo writer Jonathan Capehart published an article entitled “Nothing Justifies What The Covington Students Did” just four days after the incident happened without having much evidence to back up his statement. Blue-check media types on Twitter and other “important figures” on and off the internet immediately attacked the 16-year-old boy as if he beat the Native “elder” Nathan Phillips up on camera.
The reality of the situation is nothing like the media initially depicted it as. Back in January of 2019, Nick Sandmann was waiting on the steps of the Capitol in Washington DC to board a bus with his Covington Catholic School classmates. Since the majority of the kids, and Sandmann himself, are white and had on Make America Great Again (MAGA) hats, they attracted at least a couple different groups of agitators.
The first group that approached Sandmann and his classmates was the Black Hebrew Israelites. That particular group is known for shouting at people from street corners about random religious dogma in New York City but they do travel around. And on that fateful day of the viral video, there was a group of them in DC on the Capitol. The Hebrew Israelites harassed Sandmann and his classmates with a lot of expletives due to their appearance. A group of Native Americans were nearby and decided to join in on the harassing.
Nathan Phillips, a well-known agitator and general rabble-rouser, approached Sandmann’s group while beating his drum and loudly chanting. Phillips wound up face to face with Sandmann, who was standing in the same place the entire time. The drum beating and chanting remained loud as Phillips was directly in Sandmann’s face. Sandmann gave a “smirk” at the man, and just that part of the confrontation was clipped and uploaded to Twitter. An immediate firestorm hit as a result.
Can’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover
The optics were against Sandmann who did nothing wrong. Phillips was painted as the victim although he was the clear aggressor. Online celebrities like Alyssa Milano wrote hit-pieces on the young man as if he were some type of mastermind racist criminal. Former CNN host and verified cannibal Resa Aslan, in a now-deleted tweet, said that Sandmann has a “punchable” face. Attacks like this continued for days, if not weeks, even after the truth behind the video and full video were released.
Online and offline verbal attacks on Sandmann and Covington Catholic School turned into real life danger. Sandmann’s family was doxxed and they received threatening phone calls. A physical protest with adults that traveled for miles was staged at the school. It got to the point where the school had to shut down for a time just for security’s sake. As a result of Sandmann’s life being turned upside down (as well as everyone else’s around him) he obtained counsel and began suing.
Tread Lightly Or Sink
CNN settled their $800 million-dollar lawsuit for an undisclosed amount. WaPo just settled their $250 million-dollar lawsuit, also for an undisclosed amount. Sandmann’s lawyers have promised to sue other individuals and companies that engaged in a libel/slander/defamation campaign against the then 16-year-old minor. ABC, CBS, and The Hill are on the list just to name a few. And the moral of the story here is this. Regular people and news corporations should get their facts together before they run stories that have the ability to ruin someone’s life. If not, then there shall be legal consequences.
Sandmann announces $250M lawsuit settled with Washington Post
Washington Post settles Nicholas Sandmann defamation lawsuit in Covington Catholic High School controversy | Fox News
Covington Catholic teen Nick Sandmann’s family sues the Washington Post for $250 million – Vox
Covington high school student, lawyers prepare for possible libel fight, release video of ‘the truth’ | Fox News
Report: Black Hebrew Israelites confronting Covington Catholic students a ‘hate group’
Students from Covington Catholic High School, under fire over confrontation with Native American protesters, head back to class – ABC News
Reza Aslan ‘likely’ to be sued over now-deleted ‘punchable face’ tweet: Sandmann attorney – Washington Times