Nicholas Sandmann, the Covington Catholic high school student whose photograph went viral in January during an incident at the Lincoln Memorial with Native American activist Nathan Phillips, is now suing CNN for defamation for $275 million.
The lawsuit focuses on four broadcasts and nine articles, according to Reuters. A CNN spokesperson declined to comment to iMediaEthics on the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges that CNN’s reporting “conveyed to its viewers and readers that Nicholas was the face of an unruly hate mob of hundreds of white racist high school students who physically assaulted, harassed, and taunted two different minority groups engaged in peaceful demonstrations, preaching, song, and prayer.”
Further, the lawsuit claims CNN didn’t investigate fully before broadcast and publication.
The lawsuit reads in part:
” CNN’s vicious attack on Nicholas included at least four (4) defamatory television broadcasts and nine (9) defamatory online articles falsely accusing Nicholas and his Covington Catholic High School (“CovCath”) classmates of, among other things, engaging in racist conduct by instigating a threatening confrontation with several African American men (“the Black Hebrew Israelites”) and subsequently instigating a threatening confrontation with Native Americans who were in the midst of prayer following the Indigenous Peoples March at the National Mall.
“More specifically, CNN falsely asserted that Nicholas and his CovCath classmates were in a “racis[t]” “mob mentality” and “looked like they were going to lynch” the Black Hebrew Israelites who were merely “preaching about the Bible nearby” “because they didn’t like the color of their skin” and “their religious views,” and that Nicholas and his classmates then “surrounded” one of the Native Americans, 64-year old Nathan Phillips, creating “a really dangerous situation” during which Nicholas “blocked [Phillips’] escape” when Phillips tried “to leave” the mob, causing Phillips to “fear for his safety and the safety of those with him,” while Nicholas and his classmates “harassed and taunted” him.”
Sandmann filed a $250 million lawsuit against the Washington Post last month, as iMediaEthics reported. The Washington Post added an editor’s note to its coverage of the Lincoln Memorial incident earlier this month.