If Nick Sandmann weren’t already set for life after CNN paid millions for defaming him, he probably is now.
Another high profile settlement has been reached in the aftermath of many news outlets accusing him of racism following a confrontation with a Native American man at the Lincoln Memorial last year. In context, a longer piece of footage would later show that Sandmann was not being racist. In fact, it was he that was being accosted by Phillips and the Black Hebrew Israelites as he stood calmly and took it.
Now, The Washington Post has paid the piper as part of a lawsuit that had been previously (and inexplicably) dismissed in mid-2019. The lawsuit was revived by the same judge in October of last year and Sandmann has come out victorious.
The family had originally sought $250M in damages for the paper's initial reporting that Sandmann had antagonized a Native American activist.https://t.co/sLOlVGAVFw
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) July 24, 2020
The Washington Post settled a defamation lawsuit with a Covington Catholic High School student who was the subject of controversial media coverage in 2019 because of a misleading video clip.
Nicholas Sandmann, 18, who was the subject of a viral altercation between his classmates and a Native American man, announced the resolution to his lawsuit against the news outleton Friday. Sandmann’s family sought at least $250 million in damages for the paper’s reporting that portrayed the MAGA hat-wearing teenager as a racist for smiling in the face of Native American activist Nathan Phillips.
“On 2/19/19, I filed $250M defamation lawsuit against Washington Post. Today, I turned 18 & WaPo settled my lawsuit. Thanks to [Todd McMurtry] & [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,” he shared on Twitter. “We have settled with WAPO and CNN. The fight isn’t over. 2 down. 6 to go. Don’t hold your breath [Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey].”
I guess there are worse ways to spend your birthday than receiving a settlement in a multi-million dollar lawsuit. Though we don’t know the exact amount, there’s no doubt Sandmann’s team of lawyers wouldn’t have settled here without extricating their pound of flesh. There was almost certainly a lot of money involved here.
There’s something special about this compared to the CNN settlement though. The Washington Post was especially belligerent in their response to their defamation of Sandmann, releasing a letter from the editors proclaiming that their subsequent reporting was enough to offset their past defamatory statements. Yet, even their newer reporting left out key details, instead painting the situation as “complicated” when it simply wasn’t. Had the paper simply apologized and retracted immediately when the longer video originally came out, they may have won this lawsuit, but they refused to do so. Their arrogance has now cost them dearly.
According to Sandmann, he’s not done yet. A $275M lawsuit is still outstanding against NBC, and he’s likely to be just as successful in that one as his has been in his two previous cases. While the money is important to Sandmann and his family, what’s more important to the broader public is that someone is holding these “news” outlets accountable. While they’ll no doubt continue to target public figures with slanderous garbage given the lack of protection public figures have under libel law, at least this may make them think twice before so viciously attacking a normal citizen.