In 2019, Sandmann came under attack from the media after a video of him wearing a red Make America Great Again hat went viral, showing the teenager standing in front of a Native American elder on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at the March For Life.
Fox News host Sean Hannity noted that Sandmann’s and Rittenhouse’s experiences with the media are very similar, as the Kentucky student told the host that he is still actively suing six outlets based on various defamation or libel-related allegations.
“It’s terrible, Sean … As a 17-year-old in Kyle’s case and mine 16, your mind is still developing. So to deal with an overload of stress where you have this feeling that half of the country; hundreds of millions of people; hate you for something that you are innocent of – but how you are painted can do a lot to you mentally,” he said.
“It takes a very strong will to be able to resist that and keep a level head. I think that Kyle Rittenhouse is dealing with that right now.”
Sandmann said that Rittenhouse’s litigation decisions are ultimately up to him, but that he would sue the media outlets he believes defamed his character.
“It’s really a personal call,” he said, adding that 2022 will mark three years since his own experience with the press, and six cases remain in progress.
“I know he has a lot on his plate, on whether he wants to entrench himself in this.”
Sandmann noted he has found it difficult to return to normal life after watching CNN, MSNBC and others report irresponsibly on his encounter with Native American elder Nathan Phillips.
“It was like a car crash you can’t look away from, you are not able to look away. My eyes were glued to the TV watching my character get torn apart,” he said.
“I know Kyle will face that journey of getting back to the person that he was before. Of course, he won’t ever be the same person again. It’s a struggle.”