Nick Sandmann reaches financial settlement with NBC over defamatory coverage

Nick Sandmann reaches financial settlement with NBC over defamatory coverage

Nicholas Sandmann confirmed he has settled a lawsuit with NBC-Universal.

The media had lambasted the Covington Catholic High School student from Kentucky, now 19, over a confrontation at the 2019 March for Life in Washington, D.C.

“At this time I would like to release that NBC and I have reached a settlement,” wrote Sandmann on Twitter, adding that the terms were confidential.

The two parties agreed to dismiss the case “with prejudice and in its entirety,” without a judgment from the court, according to documents (pdf) filed Dec. 17 in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Kentucky. The suit’s dismissal “with prejudice” signifies that Sandmann cannot refile the same claim again in that court.

NBC was among several media outlets sued by Sandmann for defamation after media reports claimed that he and other students harassed a Native American man, Nathan Phillips, at an incident on Jan. 18, 2019. At the time, Sandmann, who was a student of Covington Catholic High School, was attending the anti-abortion March for Life rally in Washington with other students.

Short videos of Sandmann, who was wearing a MAGA (Make America Great Again) hat standing face-to-face with Phillips at the Lincoln Memorial, had gone viral. Due to their short length, the videos made it appear that Sandmann and fellow students had confronted Phillips. Phillips himself told several media outlets that he was confronted and harassed by the students.

A longer version of the video showed that it was actually Phillips who had approached Sandmann.   After the longer video emerged, many public figures that had initially issued statements against Sandmann issued apologies, retractions, or simply deleted their statements.

On May 1, 2019, Sandmann, who was 16 years old and a student at Covington Catholic High School at the time, filed a defamation lawsuit (pdf) against NBCUniversal, seeking $275 million.

“NBC-Universal created a false narrative by portraying the ‘confrontation’ as a ‘hate crime’ committed by Nicholas,” the lawsuit read.

Sandmann previously reached settlements in 2020 with The Washington Post and CNN for officially undisclosed amounts; he had sued them for $250 million and $275 million, respectively. The Covington Catholic graduate, now 19 years old, still has ongoing lawsuits against outlets ABC, CBS, Gannett, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times.

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