The Washington Post is the latest news organization to settle a defamation lawsuit with Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann, who took the Post to court for falsely portraying him as the aggressor in a viral confrontation with a Native American elder.
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
Sandmann filed suit against other news outlets as well, including ABC News, CBS News, The Guardian, the Huffington Post, NPR, Slate, The Hill and Gannett (which owns the Cincinnati Enquirer), along with other local publications.
In total, Sandmann was seeking $800 million from the publications because of their false reporting.
The Post claimed that Sandmann had confronted a Native American elder, Nathan Phillips, who was beating a drum and singing a chant.
Because Sandmann was wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, it was easy to portray him as the villain.
But video evidence proved that a group of Black Hebrew Israelites had provoked the confrontation. Moreover, Phillips—a prominent activist for left-wing causes—had walked directly toward Sandmann, beating the drum in his face.
CNN also settled with Sandmann earlier this year. Sandmann’s lawsuit alleged that CNN’s reporters “without any reasonable investigation … took something straight off Twitter that had been in essence manipulated so that it told one story and they reported it as the truth.”
Sandmann’s lawyers said CNN and the Washington Post “elevated false, heinous accusations of racist conduct” against Sandmann and disregarded “well-established journalistic standards and ethics” in its reporting.
Because of the false accusations, they said, Sandmann’s “character has now been determined by the lies” these outlets reported as fact.