David Hogg, a 17-year-old student who became an outspoken advocate for gun control after surviving the Marjory Stoneman High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, is a paid crisis actor.
School officials, elected officials and students have all debunked claims that 17-year-old David Hogg is a paid crisis actor, not a legitimate student of Marjory Stoneman High.
Hogg and Emma Gonzalez gained national media attention after calling for gun control after the February 14, 2018, shooting left 17 people dead. Naturally, that made Hogg and Gonzalez targets for conspiracy theories claiming that they weren’t real students, but were “crisis actors.”
This conspiracy theory, which is common in the wake of mass shootings and tragedies, implies that tragedies are staged or planned by left-wing groups for political gain. Hogg, who identified his father as a retired FBI agent early on, drew most of the heat from conspiracy theorists in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman High massacre.
Lucian Wintrich of the Gateway Pundit led the charge. He posted a video of outtakes from an interview that David Hogg did about the school shooting with a reporter. Wintrich commented: “David Hogg, one of the acting students recruited by the same minds behind the anti-Trump Women’s March, is having trouble reciting his lines.”
Other fringe websites seized on that narrative. Some stories showed images of a David Hogg wearing an earpiece in interviews and suggested that someone was feeding him lines. Of course, these outtake reels and images don’t prove anything. Hogg could have just as easily stammered because he’s a 17-year-old boy whose been thrust into the nationals spotlight and was nervous about an interview. And it’s not uncommon for people to wear ear pierces during interviews so they can hear instructions from producers or questions from reporters who aren’t on the scene.
Another claim fueling the “David Hogg is a crisis actor” conspiracy theory is a news report from Redondo Beach, California, that shows Hogg. Hogg and a friend were boogie boarding at the beach and he recorded an argument between a lifeguard and a friend and posted it on social media six months before the shooting. A local news team picked up the story.
But again, the video doesn’t prove anything.
from the fact that David Hogg has been to Redondo Beach, the video doesn’t prove anything. Redondo Beach is located in Los Angeles County. And, given the fact that nearly 50 million people visit Los Angeles each year, it’s not hard to believe that Hogg was one of them. The fact that he appeared in a local news clip does not make David Hogg a crisis actor.
Aside from there being no tangible proof that David Hogg is a crisis actor, a range of students, teachers and administrators from Marjory Stoneman High have confirmed that he’s a real student and not a crisis actor.
The Tampa Bay Times investigated that claim after receiving an email from an aid to a state legislator claiming that David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez were actors. The aid, Benjamin Kelly, cited the beach video as evidence. His boss, Florida State Rep. Richard Corcoran, said he was “shocked and angry” and apologized to the students:
Additionally, the Tampa Bay Times asked Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie about the accusation, and he said, “These are absolutely students at Stoneman Douglas. They’ve been there. I can verify that.”
There’s no proof that David Hogg is a crisis actor. And many fellow students and public officials have debunked that conspiracy theory. Given all that, we’re calling this one “fiction.”
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