Even as more evidence that the original viral video and early reports of the encounter between a Native American protester and a group of students from an all-boys Catholic high school grossly misrepresented what actually took place, celebrities continued to take to social media to offer their ill-informed hot takes.
As The Daily Wire reported, Trump-“beheading” comedienne Kathy Griffin called Sunday for the doxxing of all the “f***ers” from Covington Catholic High School involved in the “standoff” with Native American protester and veteran Nathan Phillips, who later told The Washington Post that he felt threatened by the boys, many of whom were wearing MAGA hats.
As Twitchy points out, Griffin’s fellow left-wing celebrity Alyssa Milano also felt compelled to weigh in on the Covington Catholic story on Sunday, and offered a new name for MAGA hats in the process. She also managed to blame “white boys” for all the problems plaguing “humanity.”
“The red MAGA hat is the new white hood,” she wrote. “Without white boys being able to empathize with other people, humanity will continue to destroy itself.”
The controversy stems from a 3:45 second video that quickly went viral Saturday showing a group of students from the all-boys Covington Catholic High School standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. A Native American protester with a drum is singing in front of them and getting very close to one of the boys, who is wearing a red MAGA hat and standing there calmly smiling throughout most of the encounter. Some of the boy’s young classmates at times laugh and sing along with the protester in what many interpreted as a mocking manner.
The protester, Phillips, told The Washington Post that he was being “blocked” and harassed by the boys. “It was getting ugly, and I was thinking: ‘I’ve got to find myself an exit out of this situation and finish my song at the Lincoln Memorial,'” Phillips claimed. “I started going that way, and that guy in the hat stood in my way, and we were at an impasse. He just blocked my way and wouldn’t allow me to retreat.”
Phillips and his fellow protesters said the MAGA hat-wearing teens chanted “build the wall,” taunted them, and hurled racial epithets at them and an African American group. Phillips’ account of the event was widely reported and elicited strong responses online condemning the pro-Trump Catholic boys. Criticism didn’t just come from the Left, many on the Right condemned the boys’ alleged “harassment” of the minority groups.
But as The Daily Wire’s Emily Zanotti reported, by Saturday night, more details about the encounter had come to light, and it became increasingly clear that there was more to the story that the viral video and Phillips left out:
Saturday night, a two-hour long, full video of the confrontation became widely available on social media, and that video shows a very different interaction than the one initally portrayed. The video, taken from the point of view of a second group of protesters who witnessed the interaction, shows that Phillips approached the teens — not the other way around, as Phillips claims — and that the teens were relatively peaceful during the incident, laughing and clapping along with Phillips’ drumming, and occasionally asking questions like, “what is going on here?”
Journalist Tim Pool reported (formatting adjusted): “We now have a 2 hour raw recording of the MAGA kids incident. We can see(:) No chanting “build the wall” as far as I saw(.) Native group approaches about an hour after the kids were already there(.) ‘Black Activists’ are Black Hebrew Israelites yelling Fagg**”
Rather than the Covington boys’ allegedly “hurling racial epithets,” Reason’s Robby Soave found that the racial epithets and insults were being hurled at the boys.
“Far from engaging in racially motivated harassment, the group of mostly white, MAGA-hat-wearing male teenagers remained relatively calm and restrained despite being subjected to incessant racist, homophobic, and bigoted verbal abuse by members of the bizarre religious sect Black Hebrew Israelites, who were lurking nearby,” Soave reports. Among the insults and taunts hurled at the boys were “crackers,” “fa**ots,” “incest children,” “future school shooters,” and “go back to Europe.”
Here’s how Phillips’ portrayed the same encounter to the Detroit Free Press: “There was that moment when I realized I’ve put myself between beast and prey. 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.”
When Phillips inserted himself into the middle of the group, facing off with the boy featured prominently in the video, Soave writes, “What followed was several minutes of confusion: The teens couldn’t quite decide whether Phillips was on their side or not, but tentatively joined in his chanting. It’s not at all clear this was intended as an act of mockery rather than solidarity.”
As Zanotti notes, some media organizations are starting the backtrack on their original reports, including the Associated Press and The New York Times. “Yesterday I had one impression of the maga kids from Kentucky,” tweeted the Times’ David Brooks. “Now after seeing more videos I have a different more complicated impression. Makes all the hot takes seem silly.”
The student at the center of the confrontation, Nick Sandmann, has since issued a statement in which he denies allegations that he and his classmates were insulting or taunting either the African American or Native American protesters and underscores that the video shows that he remained calm during the whole encounter in what he describes as an attempt to “diffuse the situation”: