Florida GOP Rep’s Office Spreads Conspiracy Theory That Shooting Survivors Are ‘Crisis Actors’

A Florida lawmaker’s office on Tuesday spread a conspiracy theory about the more outspoken survivors of last week’s Stoneman Douglas High School massacre. In response to a media query, Republican state Rep. Shawn Harrison’s district secretary told reporter Alex Leary that David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez—the two students who’ve been most vocal on television in speaking out against guns and the Trump White House—were “not students here but actors that travel to various crisis [sic] when they happen.” Pressed for more information, the aide, Benjamin A. Kelly, reportedly sent back a YouTube conspiracy theory video. Kelly’s allegation about the two students echoes a conspiracy theory promoted earlier Tuesday by Donald Trump Jr., alleging that Hogg had been coached by his ex-FBI agent father. “I was just made aware that my aide made an insensitive and inappropriate allegation about Parkland students today,” Rep. Harrison said in a statement. “I have spoken to him and placed him on leave until we determine an appropriate course of action. I do not share his opinion and he did so without my knowledge.”