Covington Catholic Students Take Legal Action Against Elizabeth Warren, Kathy Griffin, and Others

Nick Sandmann and Nathan Phillips in Covington Catholic High School confrontation
Survival Media Agency via AP

Eight Covington Catholic High School students are taking legal action against notable personalities — including celebrities, lawmakers, and influencers — and suing them for defamation over the remarks they made following the January 18 incident at the Lincoln Memorial between the students and Native American activist Nathan Phillips.

Lawyers for the teens filed the defamation lawsuit in Kentucky’s Kenton County Circuit Court Thursday against 12 individuals. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM), Kathy Griffin, Shaun King, Ana Navarro, and Maggie Haberman are among those named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Here are all of the defendants named in the lawsuit, via the Cincinnati Enquirer:

  • Rep. Debra Haaland, a congresswoman from New Mexico;
  • Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist and frequent guest on CNN;
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a congresswoman from Massachusetts and presidential candidate;
  • Maggie Haberman, a New York Times reporter;
  • Kathy Griffin, an actress;
  • Matthew Dowd, a political consultant and analyst;
  • Reza Aslan, a scholar and author;
  • Kevin Kruse, a history professor at Princeton;
  • Shaun King, an activist;
  • Adam Edelen, a former state auditor of Kentucky;
  • Clara Jeffery, the editor in chief of Mother Jones;
  • Jodi Jacobson, the editor in chief of Rewire News.

The lawsuit states that those individuals jumped to conclusions and “collectively used their large social media platforms, perceived higher credibility and public followings to lie and libel minors they never met,” according to Law and Crime.

“These defendants called for the kids to be named and shamed, doxxed and expelled, and invited public retaliation against these minors from a small town in Kentucky. The defendants circulated false statements about them to millions of people around the world,” the lawsuit said.

It continued:

The video of the entire event, known to the defendants, exposed all of their factual claims against the kids as lies. The defendants were each individually offered the opportunity to correct, delete, and/or apologize for their false statements, but each refused, continuing to circulate the false statements about these children to this very day on their social media platforms they personally control.

Following the emergence of the viral video, which showed Phillips drumming in Covington student Nicholas Sandmann’s face, Griffin asked for the students’ names and called for public shaming.

“Name these kids,” she wrote. “I want NAMES. Shame them. If you think these fuckers wouldn’t dox you in a heartbeat, think again.”

“Names please. And stories from people who can identify them and vouch for their identity. Thank you,” she added in another tweet:

Warren told her followers that Phillips “endured hateful taunts with dignity and strength”:

Haaland tweeted, “A Native American Vietnam War veteran was seen being harassed and mocked by a group of MAGA hat-wearing teens”:

Last week, a Kentucky judge dismissed Sandmann’s $250 million defamation lawsuit filed against the Washington Post, which accused the publication of making “a series of false and defamatory print and online articles” about the student.


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