In the huge dust-up surrounding an incident involving the Covington Catholic school boys and a Native American activist, little attention has been focused on a group of apparently anti-Semitic black men who appear to have initiated the confrontation by yelling racist and anti-gay slurs at everyone involved.
An initial video clip of the incident was interpreted by the mainstream media as showing a group of pro-life teens wearing “Make America Great Again” hats taunting a Native American elder who had just finished up an Indigenous Peoples March. That misreporting led to outrage and death threats against the boys.
A second video gave a more accurate and much different picture. The Covington boys, along with a group of girls, had finished up participating in the pro-life March for Life rally and were waiting near the Lincoln Memorial for their buses to pick them up.
For more than an hour while they were waiting, a group of Black Hebrew Israelites activists — who believe they, not the Jews, are God’s chosen people — were yelling hateful slurs at not just the white students but black students, the Native Americans, and other passersby as well.
The Covington students started yelling their school spirit chant to drown out the hate and were approached by members of the Indigenous Peoples March. Native American elder Nathan Phillips started chanting and beating a drum as part of a prayer for peace, and the boys joined in, chanting along with him.
Phillips claims the boys were yelling racial slurs, but video footage of the evidence doesn’t show that. The boys deny the accusation as well. Phillips was unable to provide any specifics about the slurs they allegedly used.
Despite all the video evidence showing adults in the situation — not the kids — behaving horribly, Muslim congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) ripped the school boys to shreds on Twitter three days later.
She wrote, "The boys were protesting a woman's right to choose & yelled ‘it’s not rape if you enjoy it.' They were taunting 5 Black men before they surrounded Phillips and led racist chants. [Nick] Sandmann’s family hired a right wing PR firm to write his non-apology."
Video footage only captured one boy yelling “it’s not rape if you enjoy it.” Whether he is actually a Covington student is in question, according to the Washington Free Beacon, and it’s unclear if he was saying it seriously or sarcastically. The deeply disturbing phrase may have been yelled in response to the sexual remarks the Hebrew Israelites were shouting at the boys.
Footage also does not appear to show the boys taunting the men. One clip even shows one of the boys trying to make peace and shake one of the men’s hands. As stated above, evidence is lacking in showing the boys saying racist things to Phillips or even chanting “Build the wall” as Phillips initially claimed.
The only true part of Omar’s statement was that the family of student Nick Sandmann did hire a PR firm to help write his lengthy explanation of the events, according to the Courier-Journal. The statement was likely carefully worded in order to be as effective as possible in reducing the number of death threats Sandmann and his family have been receiving.
After Omar tweeted her largely debunked claims, attorney Robert Barnes, who is representing the Covington boys in a libel lawsuit against those who misreported the incident, warned Omar that could be added to the lawsuit as well.
“This is libel. Retract, or get sued,” he wrote on Twitter.
Omar responded by deleting her tweet.