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‘Damage That Cannot Be Undone’: Patricia Heaton Responds to Journalists Who Rushed Story About the Covington Catholic Kids

01-26-2019
Patricia Heaton (AP Photo)
Patricia Heaton (AP Photo)

Patricia Heaton, known best for her role in the hit sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond,” shared a few words Monday for the journalists and social media users who pushed an inaccurate characterization of a confrontation that took place over the weekend between a group of high schoolers and a Native American demonstrator.

In video footage that bubbled to the surface Sunday, Nick Sandmann — wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat — could be seen smirking as Nathan Phillips, an elderly Native American activist and Marine veteran, stood drumming in his face.

As a result of the mischaracterization of Sandmann’s actions, the student from Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Kentucky, said he and his family have faced an onslaught of death threats and “hateful insults,” according to ABC News.

Several journalists have retracted or deleted their posts since additional footage has proven the situation to be quite a bit more complex than initial videos suggested.

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Sandmann said he was doing what he could to diffuse what was already a tense situation, given radical protesters associated with the Black Hebrew Israelite movement were already hurling racist, bigoted and homophobic insults at the group of teenagers, many of whom were wearing pro-Trump gear, before Phillips arrived on the scene.

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Sandmann and his high school peers were in Washington, D.C., for the March for Life rally Friday while Phillips was attending an Indigenous People’s March held on the same day.

What Did Heaton Say? 

In a series of tweets, Heaton noted she’s seen “sincere apologies” from journalists who jumped the gun in their reporting about Sandmann and Phillips, but argued apologies without some sort of disciplinary action seem insufficient.

These inaccurate reports, the actor argued, will live on in the internet, forever following these teenagers as they leave high school and fill out college applications and apply for jobs.

Heaton argued that, while the Covington Catholic kids will have to deal with this stain on their records for many years to come, the journalists and social media users who pushed an incomplete narrative about the confrontation “are still at their jobs, with nary a consequence for their reckless behavior.” While she said “compensatory action” would go a long way in rebuilding trust between the press and most Americans, she is not confident such a gesture will be made.

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