Family of boy falsely accused of racism sues Deadspin

The parents of Holden Armenta have filed a lawsuit against the left-leaning publication Deadspin for an article published last November.

The article by writer Carron Phillips featured a photo of Holden, age 9, wearing face paint in his team’s colors and an Indian headdress. The article was titled, “The NFL needs to speak out against the Kansas City Chiefs fan in Black face, Native headdress.”

Phillips wrote: “It takes a lot to disrespect two groups of people at once. But on Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas, a Kansas City Chiefs fan found a way to hate black people and the native americans at the same time…Despite their age, who taught that person that what they were wearing was appropriate?”

In fact, the boy wasn’t wearing blackface, and his family says they are of Native American heritage.

Deadspin didn’t correct its article but issued an “update” that read, in part, “We regret any suggestion that we were attacking the fan or his family.”

The family has now filed a lawsuit against Deadspin saying the website “maliciously and wantonly attack[ed] a nine-year-old boy and his parents for Phillips’ own race-drenched political agenda.”

The complaint begins as follows:

Nine-year-old H.A. loves the Kansas City Chiefs—and he loves his family’s Chumash-Indian heritage. On November 26, 2023, H.A. displayed that love by attending the Chiefs-Raiders NFL football game wearing a Chiefs jersey and necklace, his face painted half-red and half-black, and a costume headdress— just as Chiefs fans and other avid sports fans have done for decades.

It includes photos of fans wearing headdresses and face paint in the team’s colors.

In a tweet he later deleted, Phillips called people who defended the boy “idiots” for “treating this as some harmless act.”

More of the complaint reads:

The problem with Phillips’ Article: literally none of it was true. [Holden Armenta] H.A. did not wear blackface. “Blackface” is “dark makeup worn to mimic the appearance of a Black person and especially to mock or ridicule Black people.”1 Before this controversy, nine-year-old H.A. had no idea what blackface was or the racist history behind it. And he certainly did not wear black paint on half of his face to mimic or mock Black people. He is a child, and until Deadspin and Phillips’ malicious accusation, it never occurred to nine-year-old H.A. that a person could hate another for the color of their skin. The truth is that H.A.’s face was painted in Chiefs’ team colors, black and red, split down the middle—just as myriad fans and team regalia have for decades. Nor does H.A. hate Native Americans. He is Native American. And H.A.’s parents, Raul and Shannon Armenta, did not teach H.A. to hate Native Americans at home. H.A.’s father, Raul, belongs to the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, and he works on the tribal reservation. And H.A.’s grandfather was a tribal elder. Throughout his childhood, H.A.’s parents have taught H.A. and his siblings the proud heritage, culture, and traditions of their tribe—and they celebrate that culture and history proudly. 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. By noon the same day Deadspin published the Article, Deadspin’s account on the social media site X (formerly Twitter) was flooded with comments showing H.A.’s full face. At 11:51 AM, H.A.’s mother, Shannon, posted on Facebook that H.A. was Native American and pleaded with Deadspin to “just stop already” in its attempt to create division.

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5 thoughts on “Family of boy falsely accused of racism sues Deadspin”

  1. The only foul that young lad did was wear the jersey of Taylor Swifts current beau!

    I doubt that the youngster read Deadpan so the lawsuit would seem to be a bogus grab for headlines or money. I might change my thinking if they donate any award to a suitable charity.
    The parents should just explain to the boy that in today’s woke environment there are some leftist idiots pushing false narratives. They are compounding the problem suing some half witted rag of what people call journalism today.

    1. Maybe, but I tend to disagree. “Half-witted rag(s) of what people call journalism today” get away with such behavior because there is no opportunity cost incurred from it. Deadspin directly, as well as the journalist involved, are on a “hunt” for B.S. such as this, so they can feed their woke agenda and asshole readers. (That’s probably unfair to say, but I’m okay saying it!) They deserve to be sued into the ground (As you might assert, that is unlikely to happen.) The only thing I wish would also happen is the writer to be named in the suit as well. Ignoring this behavior leads to more of it?

  2. Good. When enough of these ‘reporters’ and their media outlets have the crapola sued out of them, maybe they will stop with the yellow journalism and start reporting the TRUTH.

  3. Santa Ynez Band of Indian Chumash are among the wealthiest “Indian casino” beneficiaries in the state. Their numbers are small and their monthly casino proceeds are mind-boggling.

    The range of the Chumash in Southern California was broad, but just this one smell “band of Indians” directly benefit from casino operations.

    They now exercise their required casino redistribution largesse with great political skill. They convince the local populations these are “donations”, when in fact their gambling license requires local off-set mitigation payments.

    None dare audit how much state “social service” money funded by tax payers, ends up in the casino bank accounts. Nor the rise of drugs, crime, prostitution etc than can float in on the…… wages of sin.

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