HATE HOAX: Native American Activist Approached Chanting Covington Catholic Teens, Got In Their Face

Native American man told media that teen "just blocked my way and wouldn't allow me to retreat."
Chris Menahan

Jan. 19, 2019

The viral Twitter posts claiming a group of Covington Catholic teenagers aggressively "surrounded" a Native American man on Friday and "mocked," "harassed" and "threatened" him are officially part of the biggest hate hoax in years.

An out-of-context video showing one teenager standing still and smiling (with other students around him singing a school chant) while Native American activist Nathan Phillips bangs a drum and chants in his face went viral Saturday on Twitter, quickly amassing over 5 million views.

The story was picked up by hundreds of news outlets -- without a hint of skepticism -- who portrayed the kids as evil racists.

The school themselves -- before investigating -- issued a statement condemning their own students and saying they may be expelled.

Phillips told the Washington Post on Saturday that the student in the MAGA hat "blocked" his way and "wouldn't allow" him "to retreat."

"They were in the process of attacking these four black individuals," Phillip told The Detroit Free Press. "I was there and I was witnessing all of this ... As this kept on going on and escalating, it just got to a point where you do something or you walk away, you know? You see something that is wrong and you're faced with that choice of right or wrong."

"There was that moment when I realized I've put myself between beast and prey," Phillips said. "These young men were beastly and these old black individuals was their prey, and I stood in between them and so they needed their pounds of flesh and they were looking at me for that."

As the Free Press reports: "Phillips said he recalled 'the looks in these young men's faces ... I mean, if you go back and look at the lynchings that was done (in America) ...and you'd see the faces on the people ... The glee and the hatred in their faces, that's what these faces looked like.'"

Phillips told CNN he feared the teens may "rip him apart" and "spring" on him:

Newly released video shows it was Phillips who approached the teenagers as they were happily chanting their school's various anthems on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial while getting ready to leave after the March For Life rally finished.

This second video is even more dramatic:

Here's a third:

Another video shared by Joey Salads shows the students were actually being berated with racist hate by the "black individuals" Phillips described as their "prey":

Instagram user "CashBently" also shared video of himself hurling racist hate at two students for wearing MAGA hats:

You can see in this longer video which starts after Phillips walked into the crowd that he gets up in the student's face and begins chanting at him:

The student merely sits quietly in place smiling.

In this longer video, one of the indigenous activists can be heard shouting at a student: "You white people, go back to Europe where you came from! This is not your land!"

The student seen previously standing still is seen casually walking away from the scene -- in no way "blocking" Phillips' "retreat."

Towards the end of the video, when the Black Hebrew Israelite activists are heard condemning homosexuals, the students responded with shock and condemnation saying "they're still humans!"

Two students at the school shared their story with YouTuber Joey Salads:

Salads has a questionable history but I was able to contact the first student in the screenshot for myself for comment and he confirmed the statement he shared with Salads was accurately reproduced.

The same student told me they "thought the guy was just like getting everyone excited and cheering with us."

He also said they were chanting "Covcath is the best," as well as their "victory cheer" and "sumo cheer."

He said they "were just at the Lincoln memorial making sure nobody is lost and that everyone is ready to get on the bus. They just happened to be there."

Another student shared his story with WKRC and begged the media to look at the actual evidence and not lie about what happened:

In 2015, Phillips made the news after he claimed he approached another group of students at Eastern Michigan University and accused them of being "racist" for wearing Native American garb:

Regardless of the actual facts, this is how the Twitter mob reported the story:

The video embedded there was only around 50 seconds of the student looking at Phillips and smiling. The poster, "Talia," has since locked down her account.

Disgraced journalist Kurt Eichenwald said the children needed to be doxxed and "denied all work in perpetuity":

Hundreds of posts called for violence against the students.

Comedian Ben Hoffman, who goes by his alter-ego "Wheeler Walker Jr." on Twitter, offered signed vinyl albums to anyone who filmed themselves punching one of the students in the testicles:

While the Twitterati claimed this scene was evidence of the negative behavior of "mobs," the reality is the only out of control mob was the leftist masses on Twitter and the fake news media which ran with this story without hearing both sides.


[UPDATE: He DELETED the video! Have no fear, an archive is here!]

The two hour video is a bombshell. It shows the kids were being harassed by the Black Hebrew Israelites from the very start and were actually extremely well behaved considering the situation and showed incredible restraint.

UPDATE II: The absolute state of Conservative Inc.:

The Daily Caller's Benny Johnson: they're "despicable."

[UPDATE: Here's the tweet he quoted which Bill Kristol deleted.]

Kudos to Curt Schilling for telling the truth:

UPDATE III: You ain't never seen meltdowns like this before!


UPDATE IV: Looks like someone didn't tell the truth.

NYT's Maggie Haberman:

UPDATE V: Former CNN personality Reza Aslan joins the fray:

UPDATE VI: Benny Johnson, Scott Adams and Charlie Kirk have all apologized to their followers for getting the story wrong.


Kathy Griffin also joined in:

UPDATE VIII: Award-winning Princeton professor Robert P. George apologized to the students for rushing to judgement:

Meanwhile, at the National Review:


UPDATE X: Shaun King is suggesting the students are "the face of terrorism" and leftist activists are inundating the students and their parents with threats:

UPDATE XI: The narrative has officially flipped.

UPDATE XII: Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie issues statement defending Covington Catholic students from the media's smears:

UPDATE XIII: The Sandmann family released the following statement to the media -- every word of which is backed up by all available evidence:

Statement of Nick Sandmann, Covington Catholic High School Junior, Regarding Incident at the Lincoln Memorial

I am providing this factual account of what happened on Friday afternoon at the Lincoln Memorial to correct misinformation and outright lies being spread about my family and me.

I am the student in the video who was confronted by the Native American protestor. I arrived at the Lincoln Memorial at 4:30 p.m. I was told to be there by 5:30 p.m., when our busses were due to leave Washington for the trip back to Kentucky. We had been attending the March for Life rally, and then had split up into small groups to do sightseeing.

When we arrived, we noticed four African American protestors who were also on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I am not sure what they were protesting, and I did not interact with them. I did hear them direct derogatory insults at our school group.

The protestors said hateful things. They called us “racists,” “bigots,” “white crackers,” “faggots,” and “incest kids.” They also taunted an African American student from my school by telling him that we would “harvest his organs.” I have no idea what that insult means, but it was startling to hear.

Because we were being loudly attacked and taunted in public, a student in our group asked one of our teacher chaperones for permission to begin our school spirit chants to counter the hateful things that were being shouted at our group. The chants are commonly used at sporting events.

They are all positive in nature and sound like what you would hear at any high school. Our chaperone gave us permission to use our school chants. We would not have done that without obtaining permission from the adults in charge of our group.

At no time did I hear any student chant anything other than the school spirit chants. I did not witness or hear any students chant “build that wall” or anything hateful or racist at any time. Assertions to the contrary are simply false. Our chants were loud because we wanted to drown out the hateful comments that were being shouted at us by the protestors.

After a few minutes of chanting, the Native American protestors, who I hadn’t previously noticed, approached our group. The Native American protestors had drums and were accompanied by at least one person with a camera.

The protestor everyone has seen in the video began playing his drum as he waded into the crowd, which parted for him. I did not see anyone try to block his path. He locked eyes with me and approached me, coming within inches of my face. He played his drum the entire time he was in my face.

I never interacted with this protestor. 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. We had already been yelled at by another group of protestors, and when the second group approached I was worried that a situation was getting out of control where adults were attempting to provoke teenagers.

I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping to diffuse the situation. I realized everyone had cameras and that perhaps a group of adults was trying to provoke a group of teenagers into a larger conflict. I said a silent prayer that the situation would not get out of hand.

During the period of the drumming, a member of the protestor’s entourage began yelling at a fellow student that we “stole our land” and that we should “go back to Europe.” I heard one of my fellow students begin to respond. I motioned to my classmate and tried to get him to stop engaging with the protestor, as I was still in the mindset that we needed to calm down tensions.

I never felt like I was blocking the Native American protestor. He did not make any attempt to go around me. It was clear to me that he had singled me out for a confrontation, although I am not sure why.

The engagement ended when one of our teachers told me the busses had arrived and it was time to go. I obeyed my teacher and simply walked to the busses. At that moment, I thought I had diffused the situation by remaining calm, and I was thankful nothing physical had occurred.

I never understood why either of the two groups of protestors were engaging with us, or exactly what they were protesting at the Lincoln Memorial. We were simply there to meet a bus, not become central players in a media spectacle. This is the first time in my life I’ve ever encountered any sort of public protest, let alone this kind of confrontation or demonstration.

I was not intentionally making faces at the protestor. I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated or be provoked into a larger confrontation. I am a faithful Christian and practicing Catholic, and I always try to live up to the ideals my faith teaches me – to remain respectful of others, and to take no action that would lead to conflict or violence.

I harbor no ill will for this person. I respect this person’s right to protest and engage in free speech activities, and I support his chanting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial any day of the week. I believe he should re-think his tactics of invading the personal space of others, but that is his choice to make.

I am being called every name in the book, including a racist, and I will not stand for this mob-like character assassination of my family’s name. My parents were not on the trip, and I strive to represent my family in a respectful way in all public settings.

I have received physical and death threats via social media, as well as hateful insults. One person threatened to harm me at school, and one person claims to live in my neighborhood. My parents are receiving death and professional threats because of the social media mob that has formed over this issue.

I love my school, my teachers and my classmates. I work hard to achieve good grades and to participate in several extracurricular activities. I am mortified that so many people have come to believe something that did not happen – that students from my school were chanting or acting in a racist fashion toward African Americans or Native Americans. I did not do that, do not have hateful feelings in my heart, and did not witness any of my classmates doing that.

I cannot speak for everyone, only for myself. But I can tell you my experience with Covington Catholic is that students are respectful of all races and cultures. We also support everyone’s right to free speech.

I am not going to comment on the words or account of Mr. Phillips, as I don’t know him and would not presume to know what is in his heart or mind. Nor am I going to comment further on the other protestors, as I don’t know their hearts or minds, either.I have read that Mr. Phillips is a veteran of the United States Marines. I thank him for his service and am grateful to anyone who puts on the uniform to defend our nation. If anyone has earned the right to speak freely, it is a U.S. Marine veteran.

I can only speak for myself and what I observed and felt at the time. But I would caution everyone passing judgement based on a few seconds of video to watch the longer video clips that are on the internet, as they show a much different story than is being portrayed by people with agendas.

I provided this account of events to the Diocese of Covington so they may know exactly what happened, and I stand ready and willing to cooperate with any investigation they are conducting.

This is the only statement that has been made by the Sandmann family. Any comments attributed to any member of the family that is not contained in this document are fabricated. The family will not be answering individual media inquiries.
UPDATE XIV: Phillips never fought in Vietnam.

UPDATE XV: Here's how the scene ended:

UPDATE XVI: Nicholas Sandmann defended himself in an interview with NBC's "The TODAY show" aired Wednesday.

Savannah Guthrie asked him right off the bat: "Do you feel, from this experience, that you owe anybody an apology? Do you see your own fault in any way?"

"As far as standing there, I had every right to do so," Sandmann said. "My own position is that I was not disrespectful to Mr. Phillips."

"I can't say that I'm sorry for listening to him and standing there," he said.

UPDATE XVII: Newly surfaced video shows Native American activist Nathan Phillips explicitly claimed he was a "Vietnam Vet" -- not merely a "Vietnam times veteran" or a "Vietnam veteran times" as he has stated in the past.

Retired Navy SEAL Don Shipley obtained Phillips' military records and it reportedly showed he was trained as an electrician and worked as a refrigerator mechanic stateside in Lincoln, Nebraska. He was later moved to a marine base in El Toro, California where he "went AWOL a few times."

UPDATE XVIII: Sandman family attorney L. Lin Wood on February 1st released an excellent 15 minute rundown on the incident combining tons of different videos:

[Updated with additional videos, tweets, false testimony from Phillips and other evidence.]

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