Covington Catholic High School student Nicholas Sandmann, the MAGA hat-wearing student seen smirking at a Native American man in a video earlier this year, recently lost a $250 million defamation lawsuit against the Washington Post. A judge essentially said the newspaper didn’t set out to make him look bad so there was no defamation involved.
Yet eight of those Covington students have now filed a new lawsuit targeting Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, among others, alleging that they all painted the kids as racists without proper evidence.
The eight unnamed students are suing Warren, CNN’s Ana Navarro, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, comedian Kathy Griffin, and several other commentators who chimed in about the incident. The kids’ lawyers said the defendants posted false information about the infamous D.C. standoff and refused to correct the record.
“Several of our Senators, most-famous celebrities, and widely read journalists, collectively used their large social media platforms, perceived higher credibility and public followings to lie and libel minors they never met, based on an event they never witnessed,” the lawsuit said. “These defendants called for the kids to be named and shamed, doxxed and expelled, and invited public retaliation against these minors from a small town in Kentucky. The defendants circulated false statements about them to millions of people around the world. The video of the entire event, known to the defendants, exposed all of their factual claims against the kids as lies. The defendants were each individually offered the opportunity to correct, delete, and/or apologize for their false statements, but each refused, continuing to circulate the false statements about these children to this very day on their social media platforms they personally control.”
When asked how the kids expect to win the lawsuit after Sandmann lost a very similar one, their attorney Robert Barnes said suing individuals rather than a newspaper would give them a better chance at victory.
“Kentucky law makes it more difficult to sue institutions than individuals in the context of libel law. Additionally, the major media institutions almost all issued corrections per my request, as defined under Kentucky law,” Barnes said. “Finally, we are only suing the most egregious high-profile individuals who inflicted the most harm & refuse to issue corrections.”
Of course, it’s true that some people immediately jumped to certain conclusions about these kids based on a viral video that didn’t offer full context, but the entire internet is full of people commenting on events based on the information at their disposal. Just because people don’t apologize after more of the story comes out doesn’t necessarily mean they set out to unfairly and maliciously destroy reputations.
Being wrong is not a crime; neither is saying nasty things. You would think people wearing MAGA hats would understand that more than most people.