By Michael Lee
Former Covington High School student Nicholas Sandmann asked new Twitter owner Elon Musk to release any files related to the platform allowing death threats against him while he was a teenager.
“As I’m watching this all play out, I’m wondering if @elonmusk has any hidden twitter files relating to what went on here,” Sandmann said on Twitter Sunday. “Let’s be clear: under the watch of @vijaya they allowed these illegal threats when I was 16 years old.”
Sandmann shared screenshots taken of multiple verified Twitter accounts calling on people to burn down Sandmann’s high school and throw “MAGA kids” into a wood chipper.
The post comes after Musk’s release of what Musk called the “Twitter files,” a collection of internal communications at the company that shows Twitter colluded with media outlets, government officials and Democratic operatives to suppress certain stories on the platform.
Sandmann was at the center of controversy in 2019 after the March For Life, where he was photographed smiling while wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat as he was being confronted by Native American activist Nathan Phillips. Many media outlets portrayed the incident as a group of White teenagers harassing an older Native American, though full video of the incident later showed Sandmann and his fellow students remained calm after they were initially confronted by Phillips.
As I’m watching this all play out, I’m wondering if @elonmusk has any hidden twitter files relating to what went on here. Let’s be clear: under the watch of @vijaya they allowed these illegal threats when I was 16 years old. https://t.co/j2bWEvpGsI
— Nicholas Sandmann (@N1ckSandmann) December 4, 2022
That didn’t stop the visceral reaction from many on social media after the photo was published, resulting in death threats against Sandmann and his fellow students.
Sandmann would eventually file defamation lawsuits against multiple media outlets for their original portrayal of the incident, resulting in a settlement.
Meanwhile, Musk has teased that there will be more releases of Twitter files shining a light on the company’s content moderation actions.
“You know Twitter is being fair when extremists on far right and far left are simultaneously upset,” Musk said on Twitter Friday. “Twitter aims to serve center 80% of people, who wish to learn, laugh & engage in reasoned debate.”