Savannah Guthrie and NBC are facing backlash after revealing the Today show host interviewed Nicholas Sandmann.
Sandmann is the Covington Catholic student at the center of this past weekend’s viral video which appeared to show him taunting Native American elder Nathan Phillips while wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat. Guthrie announced the interview on Twitter Tuesday along with a photo of her sitting across from the Kentucky high-schooler.
Guthrie was immediately slammed after promoting the sit-down. “Are you f***ing kidding us with this @SavannahGuthrie? Any respect I ever had for you as a journalist is GONE,” one disappointed viewer tweeted, along with the hashtag “#RacismEnabler”
Many on Twitter were equally upset.
— The Super Spot (@WayneReginald) January 22, 2019
Also, @SavannahGuthrie Is trash for giving a white supremacist punk a platform. Shame on her.
— Trish614 (@TrishMayhorn1) January 22, 2019
So sorry these kids weren’t available pic.twitter.com/54WvQysjT8
— Eli Valley (@elivalley) January 22, 2019
Hey @SavannahGuthrie, I fixed this picture for ya.
I mean taking this #CovingtonBoys MAGA hat off and combing his hair like a 3rd grader, is a total misrepresentation of what he actually DID.
It’s also known in your business as “White-washing” – and is quite DISGRACEFUL. pic.twitter.com/iv27vreg3e
— Paul Lee Ticks (@PaulLeeTicks) January 22, 2019
Who the hell wants to see this kid’s smirking mug while he spouts garbage about things he knows nothing about?
— Meet The Resistance (@7609Kimmie) January 22, 2019
Maybe you can have a great sit-down with Steve King next. I can’t wait to hear how White nationalism has been given a bad rap.
— vegan_pierogi (@veganpierogi) January 22, 2019
— Lori (@LoriSums) January 22, 2019
Disgusting! And you @SavannahGuthrie should think about the fact that this racist brat was intimidating an elder. You will be providing a platform for him to cry victim, his new phony smile.
— Samia Ali Salama (@SamiaAliSalama) January 22, 2019
Be sure and ask him about his views on women’s bodily autonomy too! 😡😡 #cancelled
— Suthungirl404 (@Suthungirl4041) January 22, 2019
— Tobie (@talons918) January 22, 2019
— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) January 22, 2019
You need to work at Fox News. Don’t you know who the hell your viewers are? Never watch this show again .
— Brina Brady🌊 (@BrinaBrady) January 22, 2019
After the video went viral, the Sandmanns hired a PR team, and now dueling narratives are being spun about the controversial encounter that took place at the Lincoln Memorial.
Sandmann and his classmates were in Washington, D.C. as part of Friday’s anti-abortion March for Life protest. In a statement to CNN’s Jake Tapper, he claimed a few African-American Hebrew Israelite protesters began verbally insulting them, calling them “incest kids,” so they approached the group after receiving permission from their chaperones. He alleged Native American protesters then approached their group.
“[Phillips] locked eyes with me and approached me, coming within inches of my face. He played his drum the entire time he was in my face… I was worried that a situation was getting out of control where adults were attempting to provoke teenagers,” Sandmann stated. “I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping diffuse [sic] the situation… I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated, or provoked into a larger confrontation.”
He continued, “I harbor no ill will for [Phillips]. I respect this person’s right to engage in free speech activities, and I support his chanting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial any day of the week. I believe he should re-think his tactics of invading the personal space of others, but that is his choice to make.”
Phillips also spoke out, explaining he approached the two groups of protestors to try and maintain peace. In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, Phillips confirmed members of the African-American Hebrew group said “some harsh things” and that one member spit in the direction of the students. However, he added it was “scary” to see “hatred” in the high-schoolers eyes during the encounter. “These young men were beastly and these old black individuals was their prey, and I stood in between them and so they needed their pounds of flesh and they were looking at me for that,” he said.
Phillips claimed some of the students mocked Native Americans while chanting “Build the Wall” and used derogatory language. The students had a “mob mentality,” he said, adding, “It was ugly, what these kids were involved in. It was racism. It was hatred. It was scary.” Sandmann, in his statement, denied that the group used such chants.
President Donald Trump tweeted his support for the Covington Catholic students and is reportedly meeting with them this week.
Nick Sandmann and the students of Covington have become symbols of Fake News and how evil it can be. 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 22, 2019
Guthrie’s interview with Sandmann will air Wednesday on the Today show. A preview was released Tuesday evening.
“Do you feel from this experience that you owe anybody an apology? Do you see your own fault in any way?”
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) January 22, 2019
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