Family of young Chiefs fan falsely accused of wearing ‘blackface’ sues the bastards

The family of the nine-year-old boy accused of wearing blackface at a Kansas City Chiefs game has filed a defamation lawsuit against the sports blog that published the viral hit piece.

Back in November, Deadspin came under fire after it published an article by Carron J. Phillips titled, “The NFL needs to speak out against the Kansas City Chiefs fan in Black face, Native headdress,” and highlighted Holden Armenta.

The young boy actually had red and black paint on his face and the family demanded a retraction and apology. They claim they got neither in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Delaware.

“By selectively capturing from the CBS broadcast an image of H.A. showing only the one side of his face with black paint on it — an effort that took laser-focused precision to accomplish given how quickly the boy appeared on screen: Phillips and Deadspin deliberately omitted the half of H.A.’s face with red paint on it,” the lawsuit filed by Armenta’s parents, Shannon and Raul, states.

“H.A. did not wear a costume headdress because he was ‘taught hate at home’—he wore it because he loves the Kansas City Chiefs’ football team and because he loves his Native American heritage,” it continued.

The article stated that the young fan “hate[s] Black people and the Native Americans at the same time.”

“The Article falsely alleged that [Holden] had ‘found a way to hate Black people and the Native Americans at the same time.’ It alleged that [Holden]’s parents, Shannon and Raul, ‘taught’ [Holden] ‘racism and hate’ at home,” the lawsuit stated.

“It intentionally painted a picture of the Armenta Family as anti-Black, anti-Native American bigots who proudly engaged in the worst kind of racist conduct motivated by their family’s hatred for Black and Native Americans,” it continued.

The suit accuses Deadspin and its senior writer of using the article and a photo of the young boy to “maliciously and wantonly attack a nine-year-old boy and his parents for Phillips’ own race-drenched political agenda.”

The suit claimed the defamatory article exposed “the family to a barrage of hate, including death threats,” including killing someone with a “wood chipper” as well as making Raul Armenta a “pariah at work, forcing the family to consider moving out of state.”

“They have branded a nine-year-old child with false allegations that will live forever online. H.A. has already suffered significantly—his test scores and grades have dropped in school, and he has shown emotional damage from the onslaught of negative attention,” it said.

“It was scary because I didn’t know what was happening,” Holden Armenta, joined by his parents, told NewsNation.

Deadspin issued regrets and a correction after the initial backlash.

“We regret any suggestion that we were attacking the fan or his family. To that end, our story was updated on Dec. 7 to remove any photos, tweets, links, or otherwise identifying information about the fan. We have also revised the headline to better reflect the substance of the story,” the editor’s note in the “updated” version of the article explained.

The family claimed in the lawsuit that Deadspin threatened to sue them.

“Deadspin’s lawyers threatened the Armenta family with counter-legal action should Raul and Shannon attempt to hold Phillips and Deadspin accountable for their false and defamatory Article,” the suit stated.

“Deadspin did not retract the Article, and it did not apologize,” it continued. “Rather, it published a series of further ‘updates’ that not only failed to correct the record, but instead established that Deadspin fully understood the Article’s highly damaging and defamatory nature—while maliciously refusing to back down.”

The family is seeking unspecified damages and other “remedies as the Court may deem just and proper.”

“The Armenta Family brings this lawsuit to set the record straight and to hold Deadspin accountable for willfully spreading incendiary lies about a nine-year-old child who it chose as a vehicle for its race-baiting agenda.”

 

Frieda Powers

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