Remember Nick Sandmann? The Covington Catholic High School teen whose face became a viral meme after a video of his smirking face-to-face with Native American elder Nathan Phillips circulated just about everywhere is now in the news for another reason. What’s up? Oh, his family is filing a defamation lawsuit against the Washington Post for a cool $250 million.
But before we get into that, here’s a quick refresher on Sandmann and the whole situation:
A combination of factors likely made the video go viral. Sandmann was wearing a “Make America Great Again” red hat, the teens around him were laughing and jeering, and, of course, he appeared to be smirking in Phillips’ face as the elder played a ceremonial drum.
A video of the interaction first went viral on social media, which led to people investigating the high school (which has a history of blackface allegations), why the teens were in D.C. to begin with (the March for Life, which is an anti-abortion protest), and why Phillps was, as well (for the Indigenous Peoples’ March).
For most viewers, race and privilege were immediately part of the conversation surrounding the clip.
The Sandmann family’s lawyers allege that the Post “engaged in a modern-day form of McCarthyism” and “wrongfully targeted and bullied” Sandmann with their coverage.
Attorneys L. Lin Wood and Todd McCurty posted the suit online, where it says it was filed in the Eastern District of Kentucky.
“The Post bullied an innocent child with an absolute disregard for the pain and destruction its attacks would cause to his life,” wrote the attorneys.
The family is seeking damages in the range of $250 million. To break this down, the lawsuit seeks $50 million in compensation for alleged damages done. The other $200 million would be punitive damages, aimed at punishing the paper.
Trump tweeted about all of this, of course:
“The Washington Post ignored basic journalistic standards because it wanted to advance its well-known and easily documented biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump.” Covington student suing WAPO. Go get them Nick. Fake News!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2019
Why the Post? According to Fox News, Sandmann’s lawyers sent 50 preservation letters to politicians, media organizations, and celebrities, warning that litigation might be on its way. But as reported at Vox, the Post detail is … interesting, to say the least. Why? The $250 million is about the same amount that Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, paid to buy the Post in 2013.
The lawyers claim it’s not political.
How do you think this will end?