The Washington Post has issued an 'editor's note' on its controversial coverage of an encounter between a Kentucky teen and a Native American activist after the paper was hit with a $250million lawsuit for defamation.
Nicholas Sandmann, 16, alleges the newspaper falsely labeled him a racist and said that the Post had engaged in 'targeting and bullying' and modern 'McCarthyism'.
Now the paper has issued an editor's note in which they say: 'Subsequent reporting, a student's statement and additional video allow for a more complete assessment of what occurred, either contradicting or failing to confirm accounts provided in that story.'
The lawsuit claims that the newspaper 'wrongfully targeted and bullied' the teen to advance its bias against President Donald Trump because Sandmann is a white Catholic who wore a Make America Great Again souvenir cap on a school field trip to the March for Life anti-abortion rally in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 18.
According to the complaint: 'The Post ignored basic journalist standards because it wanted to advance its well-known and easily documented, biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump ... by impugning individuals perceived to be supporters.'
Sandmann is seeking $250 million in damages, the amount that Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com and the world's richest person, paid for the Post in 2013.
The Washington Post's Vice President for Communications Kristine Coratti Kelly had said: 'We are reviewing a copy of the lawsuit and we plan to mount a vigorous defense.'
President Donald Trump gave Sandmann is his backing, quoting his suit and said: 'Go get them Nick. Fake News!'
In a video that went viral from the incident, Sandmann is seen standing face to face with Native American activist Nathan Phillips. Sandmann stares smiling at him while Phillips sings and plays his drum.
The incident sparked outrage on social media and in early articles, the Post reported that the schoolboys 'surrounded' and 'taunted' 64-year-old Phillips.
The newspaper claimed that a 'smirking' Sandmann had stood in Phillip's path, blocking him from moving.
More extensive video of the events told a radically different story, showing the boys were subjected to racist abuse by a group of Black Hebrew Israelites, before Phillips waded into the group of students and banged his drum directly in Sandmann's face.
In a statement, Sandmann's Atlanta-based lawyer, Lin Wood, said additional similar lawsuits would be filed against other parties in the weeks ahead.
A private investigation firm retained by Covington Diocese in Park Hills, Kentucky, found in a report released last week no evidence the teenagers provoked a confrontation.
The students were met at the Lincoln Memorial by offensive statements from members of the Black Hebrew Israelites, the report said.
The investigation also determined that the students did not direct any racist or offensive comments toward Phillips although several performed a 'tomahawk chop' to the beat of his drum.
Phillips claimed in a separate video that he heard the students chanting 'build that wall,' during the encounter, a reference to Trump's pledge to build a barrier along the U.S. border with Mexico.
The investigators said they found no evidence of such a chant and that Phillips did not respond to multiple attempts to contact him.
In a letter to parents, Covington Bishop Roger Foys said the students 'were placed in a situation that was at once bizarre and even threatening'.
'The immediate world-wide reaction to the initial video led almost everyone to believe that our students had initiated the incident and the perception of those few minutes of video became reality,' the bishop wrote.
Students told investigators that they felt Phillips was coming into their group to join their own cheers, which were meant to drown out insults from the Black Hebrew Israelites.
They claimed that they were confused but did not feel threatened by Phillips, the report said.
'We found no evidence of racist statements to Mr. Phillips or members of his group,' the report said. 'Some students performed a 'tomahawk chop' to the beat of Mr Phillips' drumming and some joined in Mr Phillips' chant.'