Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann's life was nearly ruined because he smirked at a Native American veteran protester Nathan Phillips in front of the Lincoln Memorial two years ago, and it was caught on camera. Before we got the full context of the footage, the media painted young Sandmann as a villain. A racist, MAGA hat-wearing, Catholic schoolboy villain. As it turned out, fuller footage showed that it was Phillips who started the altercation.
Sandmann, who never asked to be in the national spotlight and was in the wrong place at the wrong time, fought back and sought revenge on several media outlets who tried to assassinate his reputation, including a lawsuit to get $250 million in damages from the Washington Post. According to the teenager, he settled with the WaPo on Friday. His birthday.
On 2/19/19, I filed $250M defamation lawsuit against Washington Post. Today, I turned 18 & WaPo settled my lawsuit. Thanks to @ToddMcMurtry & @LLinWood for their advocacy. Thanks to my family & millions of you who have stood your ground by supporting me. I still have more to do.— Nicholas Sandmann (@N1ckSandmann) July 24, 2020
In their filing from last February, Sandmanns' attorneys argued that the media had targeted their client "because he was the white, Catholic student wearing a red 'Make America Great Again' souvenir cap on a school field trip to the Jan. 18 (2019) March for Life in Washington, D.C."
After Sandmann filed suit, the WaPo published an editor's note explaining that perhaps their initial reporting on the incident had been a bit off.
A Washington Post article first posted online on Jan. 19 reported on a Jan. 18 incident at the Lincoln Memorial. Subsequent reporting, a student’s statement and additional video allow for a more complete assessment of what occurred, either contradicting or failing to confirm accounts provided in that story — including that Native American activist Nathan Phillips was prevented by one student from moving on, that his group had been taunted by the students in the lead-up to the encounter, and that the students were trying to instigate a conflict. The high school student facing Phillips issued a statement contradicting his account; the bishop in Covington, Ky., apologized for the statement condemning the students; and an investigation conducted for the Diocese of Covington and Covington Catholic High School found the students’ accounts consistent with videos. Subsequent Post coverage, including video, reported these developments: “Viral standoff between a tribal elder and a high schooler is more complicated than it first seemed”; “Kentucky bishop apologizes to Covington Catholic students, says he expects their exoneration”; “Investigation finds no evidence of ‘racist or offensive statements’ in Mall incident.”
A Jan. 22 correction to the original story reads: Earlier versions of this story incorrectly said that Native American activist Nathan Phillips fought in the Vietnam War. Phillips said he served in the U.S. Marines but was never deployed to Vietnam.
It's the second settlement for Sandmann, who settled with CNN back in January. And there are plenty more to go.
We have settled with WAPO and CNN.— Nicholas Sandmann (@N1ckSandmann) July 24, 2020
The fight isn’t over. 2 down. 6 to go.
Don’t hold your breath @jack.