Washington Post settles with Covington Student Nick Sandmann

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Internet Law” (CC BY 2.0) by Visual Content

The Washington Post on Friday agreed to settle the $250 million lawsuit filed by Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann for defamation. The case ensued from the newspaper’s coverage of his 2019 encounter with a Native American elder at a protest.


The amount that the Washington Post settled for is not publicly available. However, the settlement serves as a great birthday present for Sandmann’s 18th birthday.

“On 2/19/19, I filed a $250M defamation lawsuit against Washington Post. Today, I turned 18 & WaPo settled my lawsuit,” he wrote.

“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,” he continued.

This is Sandmann’s second settlement in his $800 million defamation battle against multiple newspapers including the Washington Post, CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, The Guardian, and The Hill.

CNN settled with Sandmann already in January 2020 as part of a separate $275 million claim.

What happened at Capitol Hill in January 2019

Sandmann and his classmates from Covington Catholic High School were at the Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. in January 2019 when a group from a sect known as the Black Hebrews began harassing them. 

The Black Hebrews were yelling racist slogans at the students who countered with a school chant. One white student responded by saying, “That’s racist, bro!” At another point, the Black Hebrews singled out a black Covington student and made some Get Out jokes, which lead another Covington student to say “Why are you being mean?”

At that moment Phillips and the group from the Indigenous Peoples March approached. Sandmann and other students were wearing Make America Great Again hats. As Philips accosted Sandmann, Sandmann smiled at Philips to maintain self-control without escalating the already heated situation.

 

How the mainstream media presented the situation

Mainstream media, including the above-mentioned newspapers, used the short video of Sandmann wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat and smiling at Philips that was vilified on social media.

CNN and other newspapers did not fact check the video and claimed that the incident was racially motivated.

Later release footage showed it was the Covington students who were being harassed.

On Friday, Sandmann sent a warning shot at Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in a tweet.

“We have settled with WAPO and CNN. The fight isn’t over. 2 down. 6 to go. Don’t hold your breath @jack,” he wrote.