CNN has reportedly agreed to settle with Nick Sandmann, the student from Coventry Catholic High School in Kentucky who became the focus of a media firestorm in January 2019.
The national news network reached the agreement for an undisclosed amount Tuesday, according to local media reports. The settlement came after Sandmann filed a lawsuit against CNN for $250 million. He filed similar suits against The Washington Post and NBC Universal.
A federal judge dropped a portion of Sandmann’s lawsuit against The Post after lawyers for the newspaper filed a motion to dismiss the complaint.
The cases were first filed against the news outlets after an incident roughly one year ago, in January 2019, during a March for Life event in Washington, D.C.
“I have the utmost respect for Mr. Phillips. It’s another person that freely used his First Amendment right. And I want to thank him for his military service as well – and I’d certainly like to speak w/ him.” -Nick Sandmann pic.twitter.com/Mr1mVjeq4n
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) January 23, 2019
At the time of the incident, a video of an encounter between Sandmann and Nathan Phillips, an elderly Native American activist, and Marine veteran, went viral. Out-of-context footage appeared to show Sandmann taunting Phillips. But according to the now-senior high schooler, it was Phillips who approached him and began drumming in his face.
Phillips was in the same area, participating in an Indigenous People’s March.
“He locked eyes with me and approached me, coming within inches of my face,” Sandmann recalled during an ABC News interview soon after the encounter. “He played his drum the entire time he was in my face.”
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“I never interacted with this protester,” the student continued. “I did not speak to him. I did not make any hand gestures or other aggressive moves. To be honest, I was startled and confused as to why he had approached me.”
Popular sitcom actor Patricia Heaton, known for her pro-life views and Catholic faith, came to Sandmann’s defense last year, rebuking journalists for the way they treated the teenager, who claimed he and his family received death threats following reports about his behavior. Heaton argued the “damage” created by inaccurate reporting “cannot be undone.”
Sandmann’s attorney, Lin Wood, said his client is seeking compensation because of the “emotional distress Nicholas and his family suffered.” He also noted that the family had to temporarily move out of the home and noted Sandmann was not allowed to attend his school immediately following the onslaught of press coverage surrounding his trip to the Capitol.