In an op-ed written by former Covington Catholic student Nicholas Sandmann on Wednesday, the young man that has experienced a similar amount of media chatter regarding his character and spreading lies, expressed his support for Kyle Rittenhouse, who is currently going through the same media storm.
Sandmann drew parallels in the Daily Mail piece between the two keystone events in each other's lives, and how the media has hurled labels at the two of them like "white supremacist," "racist," and "domestic terrorist."
"Kyle was almost immediately labelled a 'white supremacist' and a 'domestic terrorist,'" wrote Sandmann. "To many, my red MAGA hat clearly meant that I was a racist."
"In only hours a CNN host tweeted an image of me, writing: 'Honest question. Have you ever seen a more punchable face than this kid's?'" he continued. "Kyle wasn't given his day in court by his critics. And neither was I."
Sandmann took a spoke out against the "liberal media," saying "they came quickly, without hesitation, because Kyle was an easy target that they could paint in the way they wanted to."
"This is the problem with liberal media outlets in the United States. They want to get the story first, get the most views, make the most money, and advance the agenda from liberal patrons," wrote Sandman.
"These outlets cover themselves when they are wrong with small footnotes at the ends of long articles, clarifying that new information has come out and that they have updated their coverage," he continued, adding that "News shouldn't be a scoreboard that constantly changes."
Sandmann wrote that "the first impression of Kyle has been set in stone, probably for the rest of his life," noting that the labels applied to Rittenhouse "will only ever be withdrawn after the damage has been done."
He also called upon President Joe Biden, LeBron James, and Congresswoman Ayanna Presley, who have expressed harsh opinions against Rittenhouse based on how the media reported it, to "please be quiet."
Biden called Rittenhouse a "white supremacist" in a campaign advertisement released in the wake of the incident last year, and has yet to issue any correction or apology.
During Rittenhouse's testimony, in which he broke down in tears as he described the moments leading up to the shootings, James wrote on Twitter, "What tears????? I didn't see one. Man knock it off! That boy ate some lemon heads before walking into court."
"Lebron's tweet reflects the insensitivity and resentment of the liberal media and elites that has surrounded this entire ordeal, from its beginning to now," wrote Sandmann.
"Not only does Kyle have to deal with that, but it is compounded with the overwhelming stress and trauma of the character assassination taking place against him," he continued.
"From my own experience, the death threats, feeling of no future ahead, and that millions of people hate you, is enough to alter you in many concrete ways and permanently," Sandman wrote. "Make no mistake: even the strongest of people cannot resist the mental impact when the media war machine targets you."
Sandmann also touched upon growing calls for Rittenhouse to sue media outlets for defamation, a situation that Sandmann is all too familiar with.
In 2019, Sandmann was brought into the national spotlight after he and fellow Covington Catholic students attending the March for Life in Washington DC traveled to the Lincoln Memorial. It was there that the media captured the viral photos and video of Native American man Nathan Phillips beating his drum as Sandmann was seen smirking at him.
Media outlets like CNN and the Washington Post wrote that he and his fellow classmates were harassing Phillips, though video after the fact revealed that it was Phillips who approached first, not Sandmann.
Sandmann bore the brunt of the media backlash, and following the incident, filed numerous defamation suits against media outlets.
"While I am by no means an attorney, I have gained some experience on the ins and outs of defamation and can offer an educated guess on what the outcome would be if Kyle were to sue," wrote Sandmann.
He continued on to note that "defamation cases are some of the hardest cases to win," highlighting how a plaintiff must prove what was said about them was false, and how statements like "white supremacist" and "racist" can me construed as a person exercising their First Amendment rights.
"Should Kyle sue? It first depends on what happens in the trial, as those elements would come into play were he found guilty. However, if Kyle is innocent it would create an easier road to winning," Sandmann said.
Sandmann closed out his piece by expressing support for Rittenhouse, telling him to reach out as he is the only other person their age that understands what he's going through regarding the media.
"From my own experience, I know that this cannot be easy for Kyle. While I have waited to comment on the facts of Kyle's case until the trial ends. I cannot hold back on the media's public execution of him before the trial has concluded," wrote Sandmann.
"At this time I would like to use my platform to let Kyle know that I am here for you and if you ever would like to reach out to me, I am about the only person our age to have an idea of how the media is treating you. The way the media has treated you is terrible, and you don't have to face it alone," he concluded.
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