The 9-year-old Kansas City Chiefs fan who was accused of wearing “blackface” by a sports journalist clapped back on Fox News.
Holden Armenta wore red and black face paint with a Native headdress and a Chiefs jersey during Sunday’s match-up between his team and the Las Vegas Raiders.
On Monday, he became the focus of an article by senior Deadspin writer Carron Phillips, which featured a photo that only showed Armenta’s profile from the black painted side of his face.
Phillips accused the boy of “doubling up on the racism” by finding “a way to hate Black people and Native Americans at the same time.”
EXCLUSIVE: The 9-year-old Chiefs fan, who was falsely smeared as a racist for supporting his team, speaks out on Primetime.
Holden Armenta says this whole thing has been scary and overwhelming. His father, Bubba, says it's too late for an apology- the damage is already done. pic.twitter.com/8T4WsMsvm6
— Jesse Watters (@JesseBWatters) November 30, 2023
The writer also attacked the NFL for refusing to outlaw the “Tomahawk Chop” cheer and failing to be “more aggressive” about changing the team’s name.
“While it isn’t the league’s responsibility to stop racism and hate from being taught in the home, they are a league that has relentlessly participated in prejudice,” he wrote.
When the the article was called out on social media for being “purposely deceiving,” by failing to reveal that the boy had both sides of his face painted in the team’s colors,” Philips doubled down.
JUST IN: The young boy who was labeled as wearing ‘blackface’ by Deadspin is Holden Armenta.
His mother, Shannon Armenta confirmed that her son was the one at the middle of the controversy on her Facebook page.
It gets even better: Chiefs players saw Holden during the game and… pic.twitter.com/jdIDhcul3Z
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) November 29, 2023
“For the idiots in my mentions who are treating this as some harmless act because the other side of his face was painted red, I could make the argument that it makes it even worse,” he wrote in a since deleted post.
“Y’all are the ones who hate Mexicans but wear sombreros on Cinco [de Mayo].”
Meet Shannon Armenta who is the mom of Holden, the kid you accused of blackface.
HE IS NATIVE AMERICAN! pic.twitter.com/JM1812nkM3
— Michelle Whitzel 𝕏 (@MichelleWhitzel) November 29, 2023
On Tuesday, the young boy’s mother, Shannon Armenta, called out Deadspin for writing a false article about her child, who is in fact, Native American.
“This has nothing to do with the NFL. Also, CBS showed him multiple times and this is the photo people chose to blast to create division,” she posted on Facebook. “He is Native American – just stop already.”
According to The Post Millennial, Armenta is a member of California’s Chumash Tribe, where his grandfather currently sits on the tribal board.
Armenta and his father Bubba appeared on “Jesse Watters Primetime” on Wednesday to respond to the Pulitzer Prize nominee’s insane accusations.
“We never in any way, shape or form meant to disrespect any Native Americans or any tribes,” Bubba explained to the Fox News star.
“The tribe we’re from doesn’t even wear that type of headdress. This specific headdress is a novelty piece. It’s a costume piece.”
— Clinton (@614clinton) November 30, 2023
“That’s exactly what we had purchased it for and wore it for–not in any disrespect towards any Native Americans at all.”
Holden said the negative attention from Philip’s article made him “a little nervous.”
— Facts matter (@1800factsmatter) November 29, 2023
“Because if they went a little bit overboard, it was a little scary,” the child said.
Bubba noted that Holden was “upset” and “pretty devastated” when he was informed about the article.
“It’s, you know, worldwide. Now, there’s comments all over. There’s, you know, disrespect towards Native Americans and towards my family,” he remarked.
Social media had plenty of negative things to say about Phillip’s article and the news outlet he writes for.
“Only a pathetic coward would write a hit piece on a little kid that dressed up for a football game,” someone tweeted about the journalist.
“Deadspin needs to be sued for defamation and bankrupted. This is horrible,” another posted.
“I hope Holden and his father have found themselves an amazing attorney,” somebody added.
When Deadspin posted the article to X, formerly Twitter, a community note was added to correct Phillip’s assertion about Holden.
“The kid is not wearing ‘blackface,’” the note said. “The Deadspin article is purposely deceiving. As several fans in attendance noted, the other half of his face is painted red.”
Owner Elon Musk lauded his platform for making the correction. “Another @CommunityNotes win exposing deception,” he tweeted.
According to a report, Chiefs fans are planning to rally around the boy by wearing red and black face paint at the team’s upcoming game against the Green Bay Packers.
Holden told Watters that it felt “pretty good” to know that Chiefs fans were planning to support him after he was attacked by the news outlet.