Covington Catholic High School Alumni Push Back Against Media’s New ‘Blackface’ Claim

Covington (ka_ya11 / Instagram)
ka_ya11 / Instagram
JOEL B. POLLAK

Supporters of Covington Catholic High School — the Covington, Kentucky, institution at the center of a fake news story falsely suggesting that students from the school had harassed a Native American at the March for Life in Washington, DC, last Friday — are pushing back against a claim that students from the school have worn blackface in the past.

Two sources at Covington told Breitbart News that the students were not wearing “blackface” but had been participating in “blackout” sporting events several years ago, like other color-themed events for school spirit that had nothing to do with race.

The UK Daily Mail reported Monday evening that the school has been “called out for allowing other youngsters to wear “blackface” at pep rallies in the last 10 years.” It reprinted screenshots of YouTube videos — since deleted — in which students from Covington Catholic students painted their faces and bodies in black at a basketball game.

The Daily Mail claimed that in one photograph, ostensibly from 2015, “students wore blackface and jeered as an African American player from the school’s opponent stood in front of them.” At no point in the story did the Daily Mail consider the question of whether the paint actually referred to race, or was a demonstration of school spirit.

The Daily Mail acknowledged that the school held an event called “blackout,” but claimed that at a similar “blueout” event, “there were no photographs of anyone with their bodies painted blue at the ‘blue out’ event.”

Similarly, the left-leaning New York Daily News published an article Monday about the “blackface” claim. The article began, however, not by reporting the “news” about the “blackface” claim, but by taunting Covington Catholic High School junior Nick Sandmann, who had issued a statement Sunday defending the students’ actions and denying that they had said or done anything racist.

The Daily News article began as follows:

This won’t help Kentucky student Nick Sandmann’s case.

A photo said to be featuring Covington Catholic High School students clad in blackface during a 2015 basketball game made the rounds on Twitter Monday morning amid last week’s Indigenous Peoples March controversy.

The photo depicts several white students, some in blackface, shouting at an opposing black player.

While the photo’s origins couldn’t be verified, the official Covington Catholic High School YouTube account published a video last January boasting its basketball school spirit, and several clips, including one from 2012, which showcase attendees chanting in black face, a mockery of the opposing players. The school took down the video later on Monday.

In response to the “blackface” allegations, several people claiming to be Covington alumni pushed back on social media.

One, Andrew Schult, said that the school regularly had “blackout,” “whiteout,” and “blueout” themes to its games, which had nothing to do with race:

Schult also posted several images of Covington sporting events — including one with students in blue paint:

One person claiming to be an alumnus also claimed to be in the background of one of the “blackface” images:

Other, similar photographs began appearing on social media to dispute the media’s newest accusations:

President Donald Trump has weighed in on the original story, tweeting Tuesday morning: “Nick Sandmann and the students of Covington have become symbols of Fake News and how evil it can be.”

He added: “They have captivated the attention of the world, and I know they will use it for the good – maybe even to bring people together. It started off unpleasant, but can end in a dream!”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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