The actor who plays Captain America in Marvel movies calls video footage of high schoolers taunting an elderly man "appalling."
UPDATED 10:22 a.m. on 1/21/19:
Nick Sandmann, the 11th grade student who was filmed wearing a MAGA hat while staring down an elderly Native American protester singing a tribal chant, has said the media has the situation all wrong. In his version of the story, Vietnam veteran Nathan Phillips waded through the crowd to approach him, and Sandmann denied ever harassing the man.
"The protestor everyone has seen in the video began playing his drum as he waded into the crowd, which parted for him," Sandmann said in a statement on Sunday. "He 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 never interacted with this protestor," the teen added. "I did not speak to him. I did not make any hand gestures or other aggressive moves. To be honest, I was startled and confused as to why he had approached me."
Phillips, on the other hand, told the Washington Post the teens from Sandmann's group had harassed him and other Native American protesters before the encounter.
"It was getting ugly," he said while describing the confrontation. "I started going that way, and that guy in the hat stood in my way and we were at an impasse. He just blocked my way and wouldn’t allow me to retreat."
Trial rights attorney Tara Houska backed up Phillips' side of the story while appearing on MSNBC on Monday. "I was there and I witnessed something that was very aggressive and something that was very frightening," she said. "And to see that level antagonism and hate, you can’t fake that."
Outrage erupted on social media after video footage of teenagers wearing MAGA hats swarming Nathan Phillips, an Omaha elder and Vietnam veteran, went viral. The man was participating in a peaceful protest at the D.C. National Mall near Arlington National Cemetery. According to TMZ, many of the boys were seen mimicking Phillipps while the man was playing a drum and singing.
According to media reports, some of the teenagers attend Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Kentucky. The disturbing clips, one of which is below, prompted Covington Catholic and MAGA to become trending topics on Saturday. Many celebrities took to social media to blast the teenagers for harassing the elder.
"This is appalling," Evans tweeted. "The ignorance. The gall. The disrespect. It's shameful. And sadly on brand. When something like this isnt even surprising, it's evidence to our place in the cycle of recreating our darker chapters. That Native American man showed incredible strength and dignity."
Milano wrote that the entire incident is a depiction of Trump's America. "It brought me to tears," she added. "What are we teaching our young people? Why is this ok? How is this ok? Please help me understand. Because right now I feel like my heart is living outside of my body."
Rosie O'Donnell simply tweeted, "horrible smug asswipe," along with the video.
It wasn't only left-leaning celebrities that spoke out about the disturbing event. Meghan McCain, who serves as one of the conservative voices on "The View," spoke out by tweeting, "I am absolutely disgusted by the mass of students disrespectful and vile treatment towards Nathan and Native Americans in general."
"Bigotry is bigotry, is bigotry, is bigotry," she added. "It should ALWAYS be recognized and condemned! Those students could learn a thing about respect from him."
See more reactions below.
This is appalling. The ignorance. The gall. The disrespect. It’s shameful. And sadly on brand. When something like this isnt even surprising, it’s evidence to our place in the cycle of recreating our darker chapters. That Native American man showed incredible strength and dignity https://t.co/Im4KLw3sV7— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) January 19, 2019
horrible smug asswipe https://t.co/jzTtdDJbQT— ROSIE (@Rosie) January 19, 2019
I am absolutely disgusted by the mass of students disrespectful and vile treatment towards Nathan and Native Americans in general. Bigotry is bigotry, is bigotry, is bigotry. It should ALWAYS be recognized and condemned! Those students could learn a thing about respect from him.. https://t.co/ea9ln5jHoY— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) January 19, 2019
Since they’re in DC, they should take the phucking red hats and #MAGA bullshit and get up in some faces over Congress Heights way. The reaction won’t be so dignified. They’ll relocate that smug grin to the back of his pencil-dick neck like he’s asking for. pic.twitter.com/D1CTCh6HbU— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) January 19, 2019
I want the opposite of whatever these kids want. And it appears they want a wall. https://t.co/cFE94oKkiR— Zach Braff (@zachbraff) January 19, 2019
The face of someone who will one day relaunch Fyre Festival. pic.twitter.com/FEjTMFJUnG— Zach Braff (@zachbraff) January 19, 2019
The man that boy is harassing in the video is Nathan and he’s a veteran. pic.twitter.com/dellmT0Isb— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) January 19, 2019
This is Trump’s America. And it brought me to tears. What are we teaching our young people? Why is this ok? How is this ok? Please help me understand. Because right now I feel like my heart is living outside of my body. https://t.co/QMxMDxNjvr— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) January 19, 2019
there are a lot of terrible parents out there -amongst other causes - https://t.co/6x77vhQtLF— John Cusack (@johncusack) January 19, 2019
Many want to know who the kids are, particularly the one trying to stare down the elder. Those kids have already told you who and what they are. I want to know who this elder is. And those who stood with him while surrounded by ignorance, continuing their spirit work, undaunted. https://t.co/z5vrPVYcfU— Ava DuVernay (@ava) January 19, 2019
I’d be ashamed and appalled if he was my son. https://t.co/PM3scoFOu3— Debra Messing (@DebraMessing) January 19, 2019
No. Wrong. Everyone has NOT acted with racist contempt and degregation as a teenager. It speaks volumes to your upbringing and community if that is the case. https://t.co/SFPr2OxdF6— Debra Messing (@DebraMessing) January 19, 2019
I promise today is not the today to propose I cram to understand the “plight” of entitled racists who disrespect an elder, no matter the racists’ age.— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) January 19, 2019
No one says “but they’re just kids” when the kids are melanin-rich. They are thugs. Just thugs. Immediately and always.
no doubt! each of them individually. and their parents, friends and community who are quite possibly the reason they're like this. but that's an emotional response and not to be trusted. in this case, if it feels good, don't do it ... https://t.co/8117EI2MSG— Don Cheadle (@DonCheadle) January 19, 2019
and he's a vietnam vet who understands the results of hate, fear and violence better than most. he was apparently singing a song about cleansing his detractors of enmity and rancor. hero ... ✌🏿♥️✊🏿 https://t.co/hWoNEQzffw— Don Cheadle (@DonCheadle) January 19, 2019
he's young and stupid and more likely than not, salvageable if he abandons that dumb dumb tribe he's rolling with. no idea if that's in the offing or not but very few ppl are completely undeserving of understanding and another chance imho. especially kids ... https://t.co/ryQKgxLqDI— Don Cheadle (@DonCheadle) January 19, 2019
MAGA hats. Donald Trump has brought the worst out in our country. https://t.co/gYSY4YEINA— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) January 19, 2019
“I liked intimidating elderly Native Americans. I STILL like intimidating elderly Native Americans.” — this kid, at his confirmation hearing, before being appointed to the Supreme Court. pic.twitter.com/ijFJYMkhWG— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) January 19, 2019
Uplift him.— Amber Tamblyn (@ambertamblyn) January 19, 2019
Stand with him.
And fight what does not. https://t.co/ciFgQrxQbD
Tell me again why the Gillette commercial was bad? https://t.co/Q7UratvffI— Mike Royce (@MikeRoyce) January 19, 2019
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