The Kentucky high School student who was falsely accused of taunting a Native American activist on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 2019 said he has been awarded a scholarship and is preparing for college in the fall.
“Very excited to say I will be graduating!” 17-year-old Nick Sandmann wrote on Twitter. “After being told I would never get into college and my life was done, I’ll be going to an amazing school on a scholarship!”
“Don’t back down and keep winning!” he added.
Very excited to say I will be graduating!
After being told I would never get into college and my life was done, I’ll be going to an amazing school on a scholarship! Don’t back down and keep winning! pic.twitter.com/nYHVmJ1uEP
— Nicholas Sandmann (@N1ckSandmann) May 8, 2020
A short video showing the January 2019 encounter between Sandmann and Native American activist Nathan Phillips gained attention after it was widely circulated on social media and the news. The edited clip that circulated widely in the media showed Sandman “smirking” at Philips, while his MAGA-hat-wearing friends from Covington Catholic High chanted and cheered in mockery, many reports claimed at the time.
The incident was extensively covered, alleging that the Covington boys who attended the March for Life that day surrounded and harassed 64-year-old Philips. However, it turned out that the edited video lacked important context about the confrontation after a longer video that emerged later told a different story: that the students were on the receiving end of racist verbal attacks from a group of Black Hebrew Israelites, and that it was Philips who approached Sandmann and beat a drum within inches of his face.
Sandmann sued CNN, The Washington Post, and NBC Universal in March 2019 for $800 million in damages, alleging that the media outlets falsely attacked and bullied him. CNN settled the defamation lawsuit with Sandmann in January 2020 for an undisclosed amount.
Sandmann said in April during an interview that his life has been under “constant threat” ever since the nationally publicized incident.
“It happens everywhere I go,” the Kentucky teenager told Fox News host Lara Logan, who asked him if it was common that people stared at him. “From in my community to different parts of the country. Everywhere I go, there is someone that will point me out.”
“Probably forever,” he added. “It’s a constant threat, and it’s a terrible threat. But you can’t choose to live your life in fear, or they’ve won and they robbed you of your life.”