Jamie Lee Curtis Apologizes for Comments About Video of Covington Students and Native American

Tiffany Meier
By Tiffany Meier
January 22, 2019Entertainment
Jamie Lee Curtis Apologizes for Comments About Video of Covington Students and Native American
Actress Jamie Lee Curtis attends the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles, Calif., Sept. 20, 2015. (Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

American actress, author, and activist Jamie Lee Curtis has apologized for her initial reaction to the viral video showing high school student Nick Sandmann wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat and standing still in front of 64-year-old Native American Nathan Phillips.

“There are two sides to every story,” she tweeted on Sunday, Jan. 20, attaching a statement from Sandmann. “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,” she wrote. “I’m glad there wasn’t violence. I hope theses [sic] two men can meet and find common ground as can WE ALL.”

However, many other Hollywood celebrities who also pounced on the initial video have not apologized.

Actress and activist Alyssa Milano tweeted on Sunday a comparison of supporters of President Trump to members of the Ku Klux Klan. She fueled more arguments Monday by adding: “Let’s not forget—this entire event happened because a group of boys went on a school-sanctioned trip to protest against a woman’s right to her own body and reproductive healthcare. It is not debatable that bigotry was at play from the start.”

Actress and comedian Kathy Griffin went a step further and called for the doxxing of the students. “Ps. The reply from the school was pathetic and impotent. Name these kids,” Griffin tweeted Sunday morning. “I want NAMES.”

The encounter was captured on video on Friday, Jan. 18, at the base of the Lincoln Memorial.

A short video of the event led to a slew of news stories claiming that the students harassed Native American and anti-President Donald Trump activist Nathan Phillips, triggering a number of threats against the students.

However, the full video footage from that day showed a very different story.

“I would caution everyone passing judgment based on a few seconds of video to watch the longer video clips that are on the internet, as they show a much different story than is being portrayed by people with agendas,” Nick Sandmann, the student seen standing in front of the activist and smiling, said in a statement.

“I am providing this factual account of what happened on Friday afternoon at the Lincoln Memorial to correct misinformation and outright lies being spread about my family and me,” Sandmann said.

Sandmann and other Covington students arrived at the memorial at 4:30 p.m. and were waiting for their buses when a group of African-American protesters, identified as Black Hebrew Israelites, started yelling at them. Video footage shows the group hurling obscenities at the students, who refrained from doing much in return.

At one point, the group told an African-American Covington student that they would “harvest his organs.”

“Because we were being loudly attacked and taunted in public, a student in our group asked one of our teacher chaperones for permission to begin our school spirit chants to counter the hateful things that were being shouted at our group. The chants are commonly used at sporting events. They are all positive in nature and sound like what you would hear at any high school. Our chaperone gave us permission to use our school chants. We would not have done that without obtaining permission from the adults in charge of our group,” Sandmann said.

After a few minutes of chanting, the Native American activist, along with several other protesters, approached the students and walked up to Sandmann while drumming and chanting loudly.

“I never interacted with this protestor,” Sandmann said. “I did not speak to him. I did not make any hand gestures or other aggressive ones.”

Defending himself from those who accused him of harassing Phillips, Sandmann said, “I was not intentionally making faces at the protester. I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated, or be provoked into a larger confrontation. I am a faithful Christian and practicing Catholic, and I always try to live up to the ideals my faith teaches me—to remain respectful of others, and to take no action that would lead to conflict or violence.”

The engagement ended when the buses arrived and the students filed into them.

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