The Washington Post settled a defamation lawsuit launched by Covington Catholic High School student Nicholas Sandmann over its botched coverage of a viral confrontation with a Native American elder that had portrayed the Kentucky teen as the aggressor.
Sandmann took to Twitter on Friday to announce his victory. "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," Sandmann wrote.
This is Sandmann's second win in an $800 million defamation suit against a number of media outlets including the Post, CNN, ABC, CBS, The Guardian, The Hill and NBC. CNN agreed to settle with Sandmann in January this year as part of a separate $275 million claim.
Viral Video Controversy
In 2019, Sandmann grabbed headlines across the country after a video clip showed the "Make America Great Again" hat-wearing student smiling at Omaha tribe elder Nathan Phillips beating a drum and singing a chant as he was surrounded by Sandmann's Covington classmates, who all had joined in on the chant in front of the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.
Sandmann, then 16, was vilified on social media after several mainstream media outlets, including CNN and The Washington Post, portrayed the incident as being racially motivated before another video that surfaced days later provided additional context for the encounter.
The second clip showed a group of Black Hebrew Israelites provoking the confrontation, slinging racial slurs at the students as they were waiting for their bus following the March For Life event. The footage then showed Phillips, who was in town for the Indigenous Peoples March, approaching the students amid the rising tension between the two groups.
Sandmann filed a lawsuit last year claiming that the initial media coverage of the viral video misrepresented, missed, and omitted critical details of the incident. Not only did Sandmann and other students of the Covington Catholic High School receive death threats but the school, in Park Hills, Kentucky had to be temporarily closed due to fears for its students' safety.
Here's what happened, according to a YouTube video shared by the law firm representing Sandmann: