On Sunday, January 20th, a group of pupils from Covington Catholic High School were recorded chanting and jeering while a Native American elder, Nathan Phillips, participated in the Indigenous Peoples March. Initial reports of the incident sparked outrage against the boys, with Nick Sandmann, the boy who smirked while standing face-to-face with Phillips, taking most of the flak.
Since then, however, more video footage has emerged which shows that the boys were originally challenged by another group named the Hebrew Israelites. Sandmann claims that the shouting heard when Phillips approached was "our school spirit chants", and that he had no intention of acting disrespectfully towards the Native elder.
This comment was released as part of a much longer statement published by CNN, in which Sandmann implies he has been smeared by the media.
In response to the statement, many people have done a U-turn on what they originally believed, and have come out in support of the students from Covington - one of them being Jamie Lee Curtis.
In a post on Twitter, the actress wrote: "There are two sides to every story. I made a snap judgment based on a photograph & I know better than to judge a book by its cover. I wasn’t there. I shouldn’t have commented. I’m glad there wasn’t violence. I hope theses two men can meet and find common ground as can WE ALL!"
Along with her statement, Curtis included a screenshot of part of Sandmann's statement. It read:
"I never interacted with this protestor. I did not speak to him. I did not make any hand gestures or other aggressive moves. To be honest, I was startled and confused as to why he had approached me. We had already been yelled at by another group of protestors, and when the second group approached I was worried that a situation was getting out of control where adults were attempting to provoke teenagers.
"I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping to diffuse the situation. I realized everyone had cameras and that perhaps a group of adults was trying to provoke a group of teenagers into a larger conflict. I said a silent prayer that the situation would not get out of hand."
In response, many of Curtis' fans have expressed disappointment in her, arguing that Sandmann's statements contradict the evidence.
In a follow-up tweet, Curtis suggested that Donald Trump should intervene and facilitate a discussion between Phillips and the Covington boys. "Maybe the POTUS could invite the young man in the video and the Native American war HERO to the WH for a talk and a (root) beer like
@BarackObama did with the Boston PD officer and @HenryLouisGates," she wrote.
Trump, meanwhile, has offered his own response to the matter, tweeting from his POTUS account: "Looking like Nick Sandman [sic] & Covington Catholic students were treated unfairly with early judgements proving out to be false - smeared by media. Not good, but making big comeback!"
The story continues to be divisive.