Sandmann Sues CNN for $275 Million

March 13, 2019 Updated: March 13, 2019

Nicholas Sandmann and his family filed a $275 million lawsuit against CNN on March 12, Fox News reported.

They filed the suit at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky just after 3 p.m.

The lawsuit accuses CNN of failing to uphold and abide by “well-established journalistic standards and ethics” by conveying “false” and “heinous” accusations of “racist conduct.”

A student from Covington Catholic High School stands in front of Native American Vietnam veteran Nathan Phillips in Washington
A student from Covington Catholic High School stands in front of Native American Vietnam veteran Nathan Phillips in Washington on Jan. 18, 2019. (Kaya Taitano/Social Media/via Reuters)

Sandmann’s attorney also accuses CNN of using the “full force of its corporate power” on a minor; insisting they did so due to the news media’s “biased agenda” against President Donald Trump and his supporters, The Daily Beast reported.

Sandmann and his family previously said they were filing a lawsuit against The Washington Post for $250 million in damages for the media’s coverage of the 16-year-old’s encounter with Native American protestor Nathan Phillips in January. At the time, they had said there were plans to sue more media companies.

Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School became the center of attention when short video clips of him standing face-to-face with Phillips at the Lincoln Memorial and smiling went viral, The Epoch Times reported.

Nick Sandmann in crowd
Nick Sandmann, wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, looks at Nathan Phillips, a Native American anti-President Donald Trump activist, after Philipps approached the Covington Catholic High School student in Washington on Jan. 18, 2019. (Survival Media Agency via AP)

Due to its short length, the video made it appear that Sandmann and his classmates had confronted Phillips, who was chanting and beating a drum. The teen was wearing a MAGA hat.

But a longer version of the video showed that it was actually Phillips who had approached the 16-year-old, who had then responded by standing still and smiling.

Phillips told media outlets that the students had confronted and harassed him.

Although the longer version was available for anyone to view, some news media outlets made reports based on the short version. Those reports accused Sandmann and his classmates of mocking Phillips’ chanting and cheering.

Incorrect Reports Caused Social Media Attacks on Sandmann

The incorrect reports published by media outlets on the encounter led to people viciously attacking Sandmann on social media, The Epoch Times reported.

One journalist, Erik Abriss, who currently is writing for New York Media’s Vulture website made a tweet that resulted in him losing his other job as a post-production supervisor at INE Entertainment.

Abriss posted on Twitter saying that he just wanted “these people to die.”

“Every single one of them. And their parents,” Abriss wrote, referring to the Covington school students.

“Look at the [expletive]-eating grins on all those young white slugs’ faces,” he tweeted. “Just perverse please at wielding a false dominion they’ve been taught their whole life was their divine right. [expletive] die.”

INE later said they were surprised that Abriss used “inflammatory” and “offensive rhetoric.”

“He worked with the company in our post-production department and never as a writer,” INE said in a statement to The Wrap. “While we appreciated his work, it is clear that he is no longer aligned with our company’s core values of respect and tolerance. Therefore, as of January 21, 2019, we have severed ties with Abriss.”

Abriss was not the only person on social media that called for violence.

“Honest question. Have you ever seen a more punchable face than this kids?” Reza Aslan, an Iranian-American commentator, said.