Why the MAGA hat students footage might not be as bad as it looks

Over the weekend, a video of a school boy wearing a Make America Great Again hat and smirking in the face of a Native American elder went viral.

But a new video posted to YouTube has some questioning who was really at fault.

The original video shows a crowd of mostly white teenage boys surrounding Native American veteran Nathan Phillips as he beats a drum and sings in his native tongue. He stares straight ahead as a boy smirks in his face.

The group of youths, many of whom were wearing merchandise from President Donald Trump's administration, have been widely criticised by US media and social media users. Many said the teenagers were racist and disrespectful, and there have been calls for them to be expelled from school.

However, additional footage shows the altercation from a different angle. A group of black Israelites can be seen protesting opposite the Trump supporters, with Mr Phillips walking in between the two groups, beating a drum and singing, as the man filming the video praises him for "coming to the rescue."

"Y'all better not touch him, y'all better not touch him," the man repeats as Mr Phillips continues to play for the crowd of teenagers.

Many are now saying the new video proves that the boys weren't the ones who sparked the confrontation.

They claim the event was misrepresented by those on the left of the political spectrum, and that protestors antagonised the boys.

"That boy deserves a peace medal," says one.

Another tweeted: "The activist invaded their space - looking to antagonize them."

Magazine National Review took down an online article criticising the boys, and editor Rich Lowry later apologised for "relying on the incomplete video".

Robby Soave, editor of Reason Magazine, said the media had "rushed to judgment" about the story.

Nick Sandmann, the boy in the hat who has gained online notoriety for his appearance in the video, has told his side of the story in a statement.

He claims he and his fellow students were called insulting names by the protesters, and that Mr Phillips approached him rather than the other way around.

"I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping to diffuse the situation," he said. "I said a silent prayer that the situation would not get out of hand."

Mr Phillips seems to have interpreted his actions differently.

"What the young man was doing was blocking my escape," he told CNN. "I wanted to leave. I was thinking 'How do I get myself out of this?' I want to get away from it."

According to the boys' Kentucky Catholic high school, they were in Washington to attend the March for Life, an anti-abortion rally.

The rally was held close to the Indigenous People's March, which Mr Phillips was attending.


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