A Native American activist who sparked a vicious backlash against a group of Kentucky Catholic school students visiting Washington D.C. for the recent March for Life has refused an offer to make peace, despite new evidence that shows he instigated the stunt.
Kentucky’s Covington Catholic School was thrust into the national spotlight over the weekend when a video posted online appeared to show students taunting an elderly Native American man in front of the Lincoln Memorial. The Native, Nathan Phillips, was participating in an Indigenous Peoples March on the same day as the much larger March for Life anti-abortion event.
In the video, Phillips repeatedly beat a drum inches from the face of Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann, who simply smiled in the video and did not engage Phillips, who later appeared on CNN and alleged to the media that Sandmann approached him in a threatening manner.
The tense moments in the video were inflamed by a group of Black Hebrew Israelites who were also at the site. Phillips, the media and folks online painted the incident as a clash between white supremacist students who support President Trump and an elderly and feeble Native American, who allegedly feared for his safety.
Shortly after the incident caught fire, however, longer unedited video revealed it was Phillips and a group of adults who approached the Catholic school students and instigated the confrontation. Sandmann also released a statement explaining the ordeal, which began with a group of Black Hebrew Israelites heckling the teens with racial profanities and jeers shortly before the run-in with Phillips. Sandmann explained students, himself included, simply responded to the racist rant with the school’s sports chants, and attempted to remain calm to prevent the situation from escalating when Phillips got in his face.
And while it ended with no physical contact, the Catholic school students, their community and school have been subjected to an onslaught of racist allegations and threats in the wake of the viral video. The situation even prompted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to step in, sources told EAGnews.
The social media backlash also convinced Catholic officials as well as politicians and other celebrities to prematurely condemn the students, who are now at home in limbo because of a flood of threats.
Sources inside the school contend the Covington Catholic principal received over 17,000 hateful emails because of the deceptively edited video.
In the midst of the chaos, Cincinnati restauranteur Jeff Ruby extended an invitation Phillips to “break bread and make amends” with students at the all-boys school, and Phillips snubbed the offer, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
Phillips is instead demanding an apology because he’s convinced he’s the victim of Sandmann’s alleged hate.
“I have read the statement from Nick Sandmann, the student who stared at me for a long time. He did not apologize, and I believe there are intentional falsehoods in his testimony,” Phillips said. “But I have faith that human beings can use a moment like this to find a way to gain understanding from one another.”
As for the shared meal, “It’s not the right time,” he said.
“He (Sandmann) needs to put out a different statement,” Phillips told the Enquirer. “I’m disappointed with his statement. He didn’t accept any responsibility. That lack of responsibility, I don’t accept it.”
Phillips said he not only rejects the olive branch, he’s doubling down on his claims of harassment.
“At first I wanted the teachers and chaperones to be reprimanded, some fired, for letting this happen,” he said. “For the students, I was against any expulsions, but now I have to revisit that.”
Phillips contends he was “called by God” to defend the Black Hebrew Israelites and was praying as he hammered his drum in Sandmann’s face.
Ruby told the Enquirer he’s disappointed by Phillips’ decision to decline the dinner.
“You know you can extend an olive branch or a hand grenade,” he said. “I tried the olive branch. My invitation was made with good intentions but we have gotten backlash for it. But when you do something like this, you have to expect some negative reactions.”
Regardless, Ruby said he still plans to eat with students.
“We need more civility in this country,” he said. “I had hoped they could come together and leave with understanding instead of hate.”
Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie summed up the situation in a post to Twitter.
“The honorable and tolerant students of Covington Catholic School came to DC to advocate for the unborn and to learn about the nation’s Capitol,” he wrote. “What they got was a brutal lesson in the unjust court of public opinion and social media mobs.”