Nicholas Sandmann, the Covington Catholic High School student who was caught in the middle of a media scandal for smiling the wrong way at a Native American veteran in Washington, D.C., is suing the Washington Post for $250 million in damages. Sandmann's attorneys Lin Wood and Todd McMurtry filed the complaint in U.S. District Court in Kentucky.
In the suit, the lawyers claim that the WaPo “wrongfully targeted and bullied” their client because he is white, Catholic, and, perhaps worst of all, a President Trump supporter.
The WaPo, they claim, engaged in "a modern-day form of McCarthyism" against Sandmann and in the process "ignored basic journalistic standards."
“We are reviewing a copy of the lawsuit and we plan to mount a vigorous defense,” the WaPo's Vice President for Communications Kristine Coratti Kelly said in response.
On Jan. 18, a viral video showed what appeared to be Sandmann smirking at Native American veteran Nathan Phillips outside the Lincoln Memorial. Social media was outraged, and then so too was the media. News outlets immediately decided Sandmann was the instigator, and a racist one at that. When subsequent video footage was released, those same judges found that it was Phillips who first approached the students. Both Sandmann and Phillips were interviewed by media after the incident, claiming innocence. When Phillips was asked if he'd consider meeting the boys for a heart-to-heart conversation, he declined.
Wood and McMurtry say there will be more lawsuits to come.