Today is facing criticism for its decision to interview Nicholas Sandmann, the teenager at the center of a scandal that evolved during a recent rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Anchor Savannah Guthrie announced via Twitter that she’ll sit down Wednesday with Sandmann, who identified himself as the MAGA hat-wearing junior from Kentucky’s Covington Catholic High School who stood face to face with Native American Nathan Phillips during a D.C. rally. Video of the encounter went viral and for a 24-hour period, Sandmann and his fellow male students were accused of racist behavior and for taunting the elder, who can be seen silently beating a drum.
Tuesday night, NBC released a portion of the interview. In it, Guthrie asks Sandmann if he feels any remorse for what happened. “My position is that I was not disrespectful to Mr. Phillips,” Sandmann answers in part. “In hindsight, I wish we could’ve walked away and avoided the whole thing.” (See the full clip in the tweet below.)
In interviews, Phillips said he approached Sandmann and his fellow students, who were in D.C. to participate in a March for Life rally, to defuse a brewing confrontation between them and some African-American protestors who called themselves Hebrew Israelites.
By Sunday, Sandmann reportedly hired a crisis P.R. firm and issued his own statement that read, in part, “I realized everyone had cameras and that perhaps a group of adults was trying to provoke a group of teenagers into a larger conflict. I said a silent prayer that the situation would not get out of hand.”
Since announcing her decision to interview Sandmann, Guthrie’s Twitter feed has been hammered with complaints and calls to boycott Today. One person wrote, “congrats on your promotion to Megyn Kelly.”
“Why would I watch this,” writes Dan Carr. “The boy was not supervised properly. It was obvious that he was taunting the man, regardless of what was going on.”
“Ann Curry would never do this,” wrote another, while someone else jokingly announced Guthrie would be interviewing “R Kelly to hear his side of the story.”
See more below.
Covington Catholic High School, an all-boys private school, was reportedly closed on Tuesday due to safety concerns. The Diocese of Covington has ordered an independent, third-party investigation of the incident that has been heavily scrutinized by the media and on Twitter.
“This is a very serious matter that has already permanently altered the lives of many people. It is important for us to gather the facts that will allow us to determine what corrective actions, if any, are appropriate,” according to a Diocese statement obtained by CNN.