A Covington High School student caught on camera engaging in a stand-off with a Native American activist at the Lincoln Memorial last month is suing The Washington Post for $250 million in damages, alleging the newspaper “wrongfully targeted and bullied” the teen as part of “a modern-day form of McCarthyism.”
Reuters reports that the Kentucky teenager, 16-year-old Nicholas Sandmann, claims The Washington Post targeted him “because he was the white, Catholic student wearing a red ‘Make America Great Again’ souvenir cap” at an anti-abortion rally, and that the paper focused its news coverage on him because of Sandmann’s apparent support of Donald Trump. Sandmann’s attorney, Lin Wood, released a statement on Twitter on Tuesday:
Here’s the complaint, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Kentucky, also on Tuesday:
The Washington Post, which was purchased by Jeff Bezos in 2013 for the exact sum Sandmann is suing them for, issued a statement:
The Washington Post’s Vice President for Communications Kristine Coratti Kelly said: “We are reviewing a copy of the lawsuit and we plan to mount a vigorous defense.”
The suit makes mention of a recent investigation into the January 18 incident—in which Sandmann and his fellow students appear to mock, smirk, and yell at Omaha Nation elder Nathan Phillips—found no evidence of explicit racism, or, at the very least, the investigation did not unearth evidence that the students made any “offensive or racist statements” toward Phillips and the other Native American activists, as well as toward a group of Black Hebrew Israelites who were also involved in the stand-off.
The Washington Post, in fact, reported on that investigation. They also spoke with Dina Gilio-Whitaker, a member of Colville Confederated Tribes in California and professor of American Indian studies at California State University at San Marcos, who vehemently disagreed with the investigation’s findings. “Maybe they didn’t say overtly racist things, but the context of the incident needs to be analyzed,” she said, adding that she found the report “unfortunate and disgusting.”
Anyway, according to Sandmann’s lawyers, this lawsuit is “only the beginning,” so it sounds like more are coming, what fun.