Above, Nicholas Sandmann and Nathan Phillips in the infamous viral clip.
April 2020 – CNN decided to settle out of court after being sued by Kentucky high-schooler Nicholas Sandmann. After the 2019 March for Life, Sandmann and other students were standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington waiting for their bus, when they were approached by Nathan Phillips, a Native American who was beating a drum and chanting.
Sandmann, wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, was depicted by CNN as the aggressor in the confrontation. CNN reporters claimed that Sandmann and others were “harassing” and “taunting” Phillips. Conversely, Sandmann’s lawsuit sought damages for “emotional distress Nicholas and his family suffered.”
Todd McMurtry, Sandmann’s attorney, said separate lawsuits have been or will be filed against other media outlets including ABC, CBS, NPR, The Huffington Post, The Guardian, the Washington Post, and NBC.
Although CNN’s settlement amount has not been disclosed to the public, it is still a huge victory according to Cornell Law School professor William A. Jacobson, who said, “It represents a rare example of a ‘little guy’ being able to stand up to a media behemoth.”