UPDATED 3:10 PM PT – Thursday, July 28, 2022
A federal judge threw out the defamation suit brought on by former Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann after he was bullied by the media for wearing a MAGA hat. Five libel lawsuits brought by Sandmann were dismissed Wednesday after the judge ruled reports of the incident by the New York Times CBS, ABC, Gannett and Rolling Stone are protected speech.
Sandmann was just 16-years-old when his interaction with a chanting Native American activist blew up online. The teenager was wearing a MAGA hat which resulted in extreme hate from most major media outlets. Sandmann has previously received settlements from NBC, CNN and the Washington Post.
Several mainstream media outlets portrayed the video as racially charged with Sandmann antagonizing Phillips by standing in front of him and smiling. However, additional footage later showed that their confrontation was provoked by a group of Black Hebrew Israelites who hurled racial slurs at him and his fellow students. Phillips was later seen approaching Sandmann as tension rose between the students and the Black Hebrew Israelites.
The case came at a time of widespread racial tension, but the judge said his decisions were made “with no consideration of the rancorous political debate associated with these cases.”
Thread: Obviously, the ruling yesterday was a disappointment for my family and I. I’m appealing the decision in the sixth circuit.
— Nicholas Sandmann (@N1ckSandmann) July 28, 2022
He said on Twitter he feels disappointed by the ruling and hopes to file an appeal.