Nathan Phillips Says He Beat up Man Whose Girlfriend Hurt His Feelings

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
January 25, 2019US News

The Native American activist who got in the face of a high school student in Washington said in an unearthed video that he beat up a man whose girlfriend hurt his feelings.

Nathan Phillips, who has a criminal record that includes a conviction of assault and escaping from prison, said in a video posted on Oct. 29, 2018, that he committed an assault provoked by nothing but words.

“Little blonde hair, blue eyed hippie girl came walking up to me one night and just spit on me. Called me a baby-killer,” Phillips said before pausing.

“I feel bad because I beat up her boyfriend. I really do feel bad about that though,” he said. After another pause, he added: “She hurt my feelings.”

A number of videos showing Phillips talking about his past were posted on the Native Youth Alliance Facebook page, including several in which he lied about being a Vietnam veteran.

In one video posted on Jan. 3, 2018, Phillips stated: “I’m a Vietnam Vet.”

He added, “I served in Marine Corps 72 to 76. I got discharged May 5, 1976. I got [an] honorable discharge and one of the boxes in there, it shows peacetime or, what my box says is that I was in theater. I don’t talk much about my Vietnam times.”

Phillips also described returning from Vietnam in a 2008 interview with Indian Country Today, which reported: “Phillips also described coming back to the U.S. as a veteran of the Vietnam era. ‘People called me a baby killer and a hippie girl spit on me,’ he said.”

Nathan Phillips lied about being Vietnam vet
Nathan Phillips, center, with other protesters near the main opposition camp against the Dakota Access oil pipeline near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, on Feb. 22, 2017. (Terray Sylvester/Reuters)

Phillips spoke to NBC’s “Today Show” on Thursday, where he lied again about his service record. “There has also been some question about the nature of your military service and this is a good chance to clear it up,” said Savannah Guthrie, who was interviewing him.

She then falsely claimed that Phillips never said that he was a Vietnam vet.

“What I’ve always said is that I’ve never stepped foot in South Vietnam,” Phillips responded. “How much clearer can that be?”

Story Falls Apart

The activist’s account of what happened in Washington on Jan. 18, was cited extensively by media outlets but later fell apart when full video footage of the incident was acknowledged.

The video showed that the Covington Catholic High School students were standing near the Lincoln Memorial when they were confronted by a group of Black Hebrew Israelites, a black supremacist group, who hurled obscenities at the students. In response, the students gained permission from chaperones to launch a series of school spirit chants.

Phillips initially said he wanted to go pray at the Lincoln Memorial but was blocked by the students. When video footage proved that claim false, he pivoted and said he wanted to intervene in the conflict between the black group and the students.

Phillips approached the students and walked up to one, Nick Sandmann, and began drumming close to Sandmann’s face. The high school student smiled and didn’t react until, after several minutes, a chaperone said the buses to take the students back to Kentucky had arrived.

Covington student speaks out
Nick Sandmann, wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, looks at Nathan Phillips, a Native American anti-President Donald Trump activist, after Philipps approached the Covington Catholic High School student in Washington, on Jan. 18, 2019. (Survival Media Agency via AP)

In the NBC interview, Phillips repeated the claim that the students chanted “build the wall.” None of the videos that were recorded in Washington include the chant, making it unlikely that it was uttered.

Sandmann said he also didn’t hear any students chanting “build the wall” and expressed confusion as to why Phillips had confronted him.

“I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping to diffuse the situation,” Sandmann said in a statement.

“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.”

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