CNN settles lawsuit with Kentucky teen in demonstration

Posted at 6:58 AM, January 8, 2020 and last updated 9:50 PM, May 16, 2023

NEW YORK (AP) — CNN has settled a lawsuit with a Kentucky teen who claimed media organizations falsely labeled him as a racist following a well-publicized encounter with a Native American last year at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.

Scene of Abraham Lincoln Memorial at the twilight time with reflection, Washington DC, United States. (Photographer is my life. via Getty Images)

The network confirmed the settlement Tuesday, as did Todd McMurtry, a lawyer for Nicholas Sandmann, a student at Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky. Neither side would give details of the settlement.

Sandmann had sued CNN, the Washington Post and NBC Universal for how he was characterized in the incident. Cases against the Post and NBC continue.

Sandmann and his classmates entered the national spotlight after video and photos appeared of him wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat in support of President Donald Trump near a Native American man, Nathan Phillips. Sandmann and his fellow students were in the city for an anti-abortion March for Life, while Phillips was with an Indigenous People’s March.

Media commentary in the aftermath depicted Sandmann and his classmates as racially insensitive. Sandmann and Phillips later said they were both trying to defuse tensions among conflicting groups converging at the Memorial.

Video of the encounter showed Sandmann and Phillips standing close to each other, with the young student staring and at times smiling at Phillips as he sang and played a drum.