‘Covington teen’ settles with another US outlet over bogus hate crime story
Nicholas Sandmann has reached a settlement with US TV network NBC after suing the corporation for $275 million, charging the outlet had concocted a phony narrative that made him look like the aggressor in a viral video.
Sandmann announced the settlement via Twitter on Friday, noting that the terms were confidential. He has previously reached settlements with the Washington Post and CNN, whom he sued for $250 million and $275 million, respectively. Lawsuits against the New York Times, CBS, ABC, Rolling Stone, and Gannett are ongoing.
At this time I would like to release that NBC and I have reached a settlement. The terms are confidential.— Nicholas Sandmann (@N1ckSandmann) December 17, 2021
The student was thrust into the spotlight when he was filmed demonstrating with several of his classmates from Covington Catholic High School as part of the March for Life event at the Lincoln Memorial in January 2019. Footage of him sporting a brand-new MAGA (Make America Great Again) hat and facing off with Native American elder Nathan Phillips went viral immediately after it was published.
Mainstream media outlets were quick to attach a racially-charged narrative to the footage, painting Sandmann as a bigoted, entitled white boy who was in some way victimizing Phillips with what many talking heads insisted was his “smirk.” However, there was no evidence of any such aggression on the part of Sandmann or his fellow Covington students, who were on their way to meet up with the bus that would take them back to Kentucky when they were waylaid first by a group of Black Hebrew Israelites shouting racist and homophobic slurs at them and then by Phillips.
The lawsuit against NBC argued the network had “created a false narrative by portraying the ‘confrontation’ as a ‘hate crime’ committed by Nicholas,” adding that the teen was an “easy target for NBCUniversal to advance its anti-Trump agenda” due to his being a “white, Catholic student” at a pro-life march wearing a Trump hat he’d bought earlier in the day “as a souvenir.”
Sandmann and his classmates were harassed both online and in real life following the wave of media coverage that centered on the false reading of the footage, which was played over establishment networks for several days. Accused of “disrespecting an indigenous elder”, “taunting” and “mocking a veteran” Sandmann was threatened with expulsion by the local diocese. An independent investigation launched by the diocese which hired a private detective agency, however, later found that the students did not start the confrontation. Moreover, the Diocese of Covington Bishop Roger Foys commended the boys, calling their reaction “expected and one might even say laudatory."