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Family of boy accused of blackface at Chiefs game sues for defamation

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The family of a 9-year-old Chiefs fan is suing the sports blog Deadspin for defamation after the boy was accused of wearing blackface at a Nov. 26 game. According to the suit, the boy’s family wants an apology from Deadspin and for the article to be retracted.

The original headline referred to the boy, Holden Armenta, as a “Kansas City Chief’s fan in blackface, Native headdress.” Stating later in the article that he “found a way to hate Black people and Native Americans at the same time,” according to senior writer Carron Phillips.

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Holden’s parents said Deadspin intentionally chose a photo that didn’t show the other side of their son’s face, which was painted red — the Chiefs’ primary color.

The family said after the picture was plastered online, they were exposed to a “barrage of hate including death threats.”

In the lawsuit, Holden’s parents called the article an “attack” to fit the writer’s “own race-drenched political agenda.”

Deadspin amended the story, removing the image of Holden and adding an editor’s note saying the attention wasn’t meant to be on the child, but rather the NFL for allowing fans to paint their faces and wear Native headdresses.

The headline now reads “The NFL Must Ban Native Headdress And Culturally Insensitive Face Paint in the Stands (UPDATED).”

The photo was taken at the Raiders’ Allegiant Stadium. The Chiefs’ Arrow Head Stadium bans fans from wearing Native headdresses and face paint. The rules were enacted after the Chiefs’ staff received input from Native American tribes in 2014.

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[KARAH RUCKER]

REMEMBER THIS KID?

HE WAS THE CENTER OF A CONTROVERSIAL DEADSPIN ARTICLE.

THE HEADLINE PAINTED HIM AS THE “KANSAS CITY CHIEFS FAN IN BLACKFACE, NATIVE HEADDRESS”

THAT “FOUND A WAY TO HATE BLACK PEOPLE AND NATIVE AMERICANS AT THE SAME TIME” – ACCORDING TO SENIOR WRITER CARRON PHILLIPS.

THE BOY’S FAMILY – IS NOW SUING.

HIS PARENTS SAY DEADSPIN INTENTIONALLY CHOSE A PHOTO THAT DIDN’T SHOW THE OTHER SIDE OF THEIR SON’S FACE – WHICH WAS PAINTED RED, THE OTHER TEAM COLOR. 

HOLDEN ARMENTA IS NINE YEARS OLD.

HIS PARENTS SAY AFTER HIS PICTURE WAS PLASTERED ONLINE –

THE FAMILY WAS EXPOSED TO A “BARRAGE OF HATE INCLUDING DEATH THREATS.”

IN THE DEFAMATION LAWSUIT – HOLDEN’S PARENTS CALLED THE ARTICLE AN “ATTACK” TO FIT THE WRITER’S’ “OWN RACE-DRENCHED POLITICAL AGENDA.”

THE FAMILY IS SEEKING UNSPECIFIED DAMAGES.

ACCORDING TO THE SUIT – THE BOY’S FAMILY WANTED AN APOLOGY FROM DEADSPIN AND THE ARTICLE RETRACTED.

DEADSPIN **AMENDED THE STORY – REMOVING THE IMAGE OF HOLDEN.

AND ADDED AN EDITOR’S NOTE –

SAYING THE ATTENTION WASN’T MEANT TO BE ON THE CHILD. BUT RATHER THE NFL FOR ALLOWING FANS TO PAINT THEIR FACES AND WEAR NATIVE HEADDRESSES.

IN WHAT THE UPDATED ARTICLE CALLED “CULTURALLY INSENSITIVE.”

THIS PARTICULAR PHOTO – WAS TAKEN AT THE RAIDERS ALLEGIANT STADIUM AT A NOVEMBER GAME.

THE STADIUM’S POLICY BANS BODY PAINT.

POLICY AT THE CHIEFS ARROW HEAD STADIUM BANS FANS FROM WEARING INDIAN HEADDRESSES AND FACE PAINT.

THOSE RULES WERE ENACTED AFTER THE CHIEFS STAFF RECEIVED INPUT FROM NATIVE AMERICAN TRIBES IN 2014.