PHOENIX - A Florida teenager who's become a de facto gun control activist after surviving the Marjorie Stoneman High School shooting is now being criticized online as a "paid actor".
The conspiracy theory has been widely shared on social media and implies the students who have been most visible are actors, paid for some unknown group to appear in the media and push a gun control agenda.
The evidence is thin, to put it mildly.
Conspiracy theorists cite a news story shot in California by the Los Angeles CBS station, where David Hogg is being interviewed. Hogg would later be interviewed as a survivor of the Stoneman school shooting and make numerous appearances on television.
Conspiracy theorists claim Hogg was not a student at the Florida school, but an L.A. actor.
In reality, Hogg lived in California for a time, then moved to Florida to finish high school. He was in California on winter break when he was interviewed by the CBS affiliate.
Conspiracy theorists also point to a photo off Hogg being interviewed on network television from Florida with an earpiece in his ear. they claim he was "getting his lines" fed to him through that earpiece.
However, that earpiece is common in television interviews. The interviewer was in New York and Hogg was in Florida. the earpiece allows Hogg to hear the questions being asked to him.
The idea of "crisis actors" has picked up support from Alex Jones, founder of InfoWars, who also believes that the 9/11 attacks were a government-orchestrated coverup and that the Sandy Hook school massacre didn't happen. Jones has claimed the parents of the children killed that day are lying.
Wednesday morning, Donald Trump Jr. also liked a tweet the insinuated the survivors of the Stoneman school shooting were actors.
Hogg was interviewed on CNN, calling Trump Jr.'s actions "disgusting."
So, yes, the Florida shooting did happen. And yes, we can verify that the survivors and students who have organized the pro-gun-control response are NOT paid actors, but angry high school students.