Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student David Hogg has a been vocal spokesperson for the school after the February 14 massacre that left 17 students dead. Yet, while he has a strong platform to talk about the tragedy, he’s also become the target of a widespread online smear campaign.
“I’m not a crisis actor,” 17-year-old Hogg said to CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday. “I’m someone who had to witness this and live through this and I continue to be having to do that.”
Hogg was replying to the rumors that he’s a paid actor who pretended to be a student at Douglas in an attempt to launch an anti-gun campaign. He’s also been accused of being coached by his father, a former FBI agent. Hogg denies the accusations and said he’s speaking on his own behalf, in an attempt to ensure that the people who lost their lives during the Florida high school shooting didn’t die in vain.
US Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, stepped up to the teen’s defense on Tuesday after rumors of Hogg being a paid actor spread like wildfire over social media.
Claiming some of the students on tv after #Parkland are actors is the work of a disgusting group of idiots with no sense of decency
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 20, 2018
The rumors of being a paid actor started in part after photos of previous news coverage Hogg was involved in emerged. In 2017, CBSLA interviewed Hogg while he was in California visiting family for the summer. Apparently, Hogg recorded a conversation between a friend and a Redondo beach lifeguard after the friend put his boogie board on top of a trash can, sparking a confrontation with the lifeguard. CBSLA later picked up the story and interviewed the teen.
There’s a photo going around claiming David Hogg did not attend Douglas, but a school in California. Here’s a video to debunk that: pic.twitter.com/hJsMNSdAsF
— Joey (@_Joey_Wong) February 21, 2018
Hogg doesn’t understand why people are verbally attacking him after he witnessed the deadly Florida massacre, reportedly carried out by former Douglas high school student, Nikolas Cruz, 19. Hogg hid when he heard gunshots ringing throughout the school, but four of his younger sister’s friends were killed, according to CBSLA.
“Why are you guys doing this to me? I witnessed this event. I’m trying to be as well-spoken as possible because these politicians won’t.”