On Friday, Nick Sandmann, the notorious Covington Catholic student who wore a “Make America Great Again” hat at the March for Life and whom the media defamed for an alleged “smirk,” announced that The Washington Post had settled his defamation lawsuit, which originally demanded $250 million in damages.
“On 2/19/19, I filed $250M defamation lawsuit against Washington Post. Today, I turned 18 & WaPo settled my lawsuit,” Sandmann announced on Twitter. “Thanks to [Todd McMurtry] & [L. Lin Wood] for their advocacy. Thanks to my family & millions of you who have stood your ground by supporting me. I still have more to do.”
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
In January, CNN settled a previous Sandmann lawsuit, originally demanding $275 million in damages. While CNN and The Washington Post have settled the lawsuits and likely paid Sandmann and his lawyers handsomely, it remains unclear how much exactly the outlets paid for their defamation.
While a judge struck down the original Washington Post lawsuit last July, a judge reopened the case in October.
Sandmann’s lawsuit traces back to January 18, 2019, when a confrontation by the Lincoln Memorial went viral. Native American Nathan Phillips and young black men with the Black Hebrew Israelites harassed Covington Catholic High School students (especially Sandmann). While the students did not respond in anger, many media and national figures launched ugly attacks against Sandmann, suggesting his “smirk” and MAGA hat were signs of racism and oppression against the Native American man. Many figures distanced themselves from the attacks, but Sandmann filed lawsuits against CNN, The Washington Post, and NBC Universal.
Some media figures have still not retracted their attacks on Sandmann. CNN’s Ana Navarro-Cardenas, for example, has kept up her tweet condemning the “racist MAGA-hat wearing teens.”
Must Watch: Native-American elder taunted by racist MAGA-hat wearing teens, speaks and cries for America, the country he defended and sacrificed and wore the uniform for. It is people like Nathan Phillips who make America great.
Thank you for your dignity, sir. https://t.co/Kae7lgAFrk
— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@ananavarro) January 19, 2019
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.