David Miles Hogg (born 2000/2001) is an American student journalist and survivor of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018, who later became a gun control advocate and an activist against gun violence in the United States. After the massacre, Hogg co-founded Never Again MSD, along with fellow students Emma González and Cameron Kasky, with the organization being a student-led gun control advocacy group. He has been a target of several conspiracy theories and verbal attacks as a survivor of the massacre.
Early life and education
Hogg is originally from California, but moved to Florida at the beginning of high school. Hogg was born to Kevin Hogg, a Republican and former agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Rebecca Boldrick, a teacher for Broward County Public Schools in Broward County, Florida. As an FBI agent, Hogg's father worked at airports in Los Angeles and Florida before retiring from the bureau in October 2016 because he was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease. Hogg is a senior and he is expected to graduate from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in the spring of 2018. He is a Teenlink reporter for the Sun Sentinel, and chose to attend Stoneman Douglas because of the television production classes it offered.
Stoneman Douglas High School shooting
While a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Hogg was on campus when Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old former student at the high school, started shooting on campus after pulling the fire alarm. Hogg, who was in his AP environmental science class, reportedly told the teacher that the repeated "pop" sounds the class heard sounded like gunshots. However, there was a fire drill the same morning and thought it was possibly another drill. Hogg and other students made an attempt to exit the building, but a janitor instructed the students to go back into the class. A culinary arts teacher pulled Hogg and others inside her classroom and they hid in a closet. Hogg checked social media and discovered that the shooting was occurring at Stoneman Douglas High School in real time. He used his cell phone to record the scene in the event that they did not survive the shooting. Hogg's sister who is a freshman at the high school, corresponded with her brother via text message while the shooting took place. After about an hour, SWAT team police officers came into the classroom and escorted them out. Hogg reunited with his sister and father later that day.
Gun control advocacy
After the shooting that took place, Hogg emerged as a leader in the 2018 United States gun violence protests. He, along with Emma González and other students, turned to the media to talk about their role as survivors in the shooting and voice their opinions on gun control and gun violence. He has conducted numerous interviews, calling on elected officials to pass gun control measures. When asked about his opinion on gun control in an interview with CBS This Morning, Hogg said:
"The policy makers in this country must work together. And I don't care if you're a Republican or a Democrat. These are children's lives. That's the end of the line. And if you want to have mental health reform, you support that. If you want to have universal background checks, you support that. Why not do both? Politicians compromise and we can get this done. It just a matter of overcoming our political barriers in order to save children's lives, and in that way, our future too,"
Hogg co-founded the social media movement and student-led gun control advocacy group Never Again Majory Stoneman Douglas High School (shortened to Never Again MSD). Hogg flew to Los Angeles on February 21, 2018 to be on The Dr. Phil Show with Phil McGraw, along with his sister, to discuss the shooting and suspected shooter, which will be broadcast the same week. Hogg along with fellow activist Emma González blamed the National Rifle Association as well as politicians who accept money from them as being complicit in school shootings. He declined to go to the White House on February 21 to meet with President Donald Trump, saying that he had to be in Tallahassee, and that Trump could come to Parkland if he wanted to talk. Hogg made an appearance ABC News' This Week with George Stephanopoulos to discuss the 2018 NRA boycott, criticizing Dana Loesch of the National Rifle Association for misrepresenting the goal for stricter gun control. In the interview, he said “The NRA is an organization that’s completely broken,” A teacher of his joined him on the segment.
Attacks and conspiracy theories
After a series of televised interviews following the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, far right figures and conspiracy theorists attacked Hogg in online media. Twitter users who said they were supporters of President Donald Trump tweeted allegations that Hogg was being used as a pawn by gun control activists. Claims were also made that Hogg was being "coached" by his father, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent who worked airport security, to criticize President Trump. Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., "liked" the tweets that made these claims. Hogg criticized Trump Jr. as "immature, rude and inhumane" for liking the tweets.
Conspiracy theorists falsely claimed that Hogg was a crisis actor. He denied the allegations in an interview with Anderson Cooper which made such claims. The video, titled "DAVID HOGG THE ACTOR," mischaracterizes a television report out of Los Angeles from August 2017, in which Hogg is interviewed about an altercation between a lifeguard in Redondo Beach and a surfer whose board blocked access to a trash can. It was the #1 trending video on the site after its upload, but was later removed by YouTube for violating its policy on "harassment and bullying." YouTube further commented, "As soon as we became aware of the video, we removed it from Trending and from YouTube for violating our policies. We are working to improve our systems moving forward." Infowars, a website run by Alex Jones, posted a video on YouTube called "David Hogg Can't Remember His Lines In TV Interview" which was removed from the site, with the company citing the same "harassment and bullying" policy. As a result of the video, the Infowars YouTube channel received a "strike" against it, which could lead to the channel not being able to upload videos for two weeks or being terminated. Tessa Lyons, a product manager at Facebook, said that “Hoax images that attack the victims of last week’s tragedy in Florida are abhorrent,” and further said “We are removing this content from Facebook" after the site announced that it will remove posts that wrongly claim that Hogg and other students are crisis actors.
Google, who owns YouTube, and Facebook, who owns Instagram, have both announced the continuous removal of post and videos that that support the multitude of conspiracy theorist regarding Hogg and the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. On Facebook and Instagram, hundreds of posts and images perpetuating these falsehoods were found under the hashtag #crisisactor. However, many posts were tweaked and renamed #propaganda rather than #hoax to evade automated detection and removal. Though many videos pertaining to Hogg have been removed from YouTube, videos the claim the shooting was a hoax are still on the site. The removal of accusations against Hogg after the shooting is one of the first times social media companies have dedicated resources to removing them, which was not done after other mass shootings such as the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, said Jonathon Morgan, founder of New Knowledge, a company that tracks disinformation online.
Marco Rubio via Twitter @marcorubio
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
Feb 20 2018
Benjamin A. Kelly, an aide for Florida Representative Shawn Harrison of the 63rd District, was fired after he emailed a Tampa Bay Times reporter that Hogg and others were crisis actors. When asked to provide evidence for his claim, Kelly sent an email from his official myfloridahouse.gov account that included a link to the conspiracy video on YouTube that was later removed. Kelly was fired by Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran for the subsequent email, stating on Twitter: "On behalf of the entire Florida House, I sincerely apologize to the students targeted and again commend them for their courage through this unspeakable tragedy." Marco Rubio, U.S. Senator for Florida, came to Hogg's defense on Twitter. Hogg's family have received death threats from various conspiracy theorists, according to his mother, Rebecca Boldrick, saying “I’m angry and exhausted.”
Hogg states that he is a supporter of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution but supports regulations that prohibit those suffering from mental illnesses from accessing guns. In an interview with Fox News, Hogg said that he was for gun control but supported National Rifle Association member's right to own guns legally, saying "We’re calling out the NRA a lot and 99.9 percent of the people that are in the NRA are responsible, safe gun owners and I respect them for that, joining an organization that wants to support safe gun ownership is excellent.”
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- "Parkland student: Politicians accepting NRA money are against shooting victims". Axios. 19 February 2018. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
...Stoneman Douglas shooting survivors Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg returned to the air ... advocate for gun control legislation and blame the NRA as well as politicians who accept money from the organization....Gonzalez: 'You're either funding the killers, or you're standing with the children'....
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...Let’s make a deal,” David Hogg, ... major player in the #NeverAgain movement, tweeted. “DO NOT come to Florida for spring break unless gun legislation is passed...
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- Brown, Lauretta (21 February 2018). "Florida Shooting Survivor and Student Activist David Hogg Says He Respects Most NRA Members". Townhall. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
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