Parkland shooting survivors hit back at 'disgusting' trolls calling them 'crisis actors'

Survivors of a recent school mass shooting in the US are hitting back at alarmingly popular conspiracy theories claiming they are "crisis actors".

The massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida left 17 people dead. Suspected white supremacist Nikolas Cruz is in custody over the killings.

Since the shooting, the students have been actively speaking out, including criticising the National Rifle Association (NRA) - which has made them a target of the far-right.

They're being attacked by so-called conservative media outlets; particularly 17-year-old survivor David Hogg, whose father happens to be a former FBI agent.

A hoax YouTube video that showed Hogg being interviewed and featured the caption "DAVID HOGG THE ACTOR...." was number one on the video site's trending section before being taken down on Friday (NZ time).

The US president's son, Donald Trump Jr, made headlines for 'liking' a pair of tweets attacking Hogg.

"I just think it's a testament to the sick immaturity and broken state of our government when these people feel the need to peddle conspiracy theories about people that were in a school shooting where 17 people died, and it just makes me sick," Hogg told media in response.

"It's immature, rude, and inhuman for these people to destroy the people trying to prevent the death of the future of America because they won't."

Other survivors are hitting back in addition to Hogg, including Kali Clougherty, telling those propagating the false stories they should be "ashamed of [them]selves".

YouTube isn't the only platform removing content falsely accusing the students of being crisis actors, with Facebook promising to do the same.

"Images that attack the victims of last week's tragedy in Florida are abhorrent. We are removing this content from Facebook," the company told Wired.

Twitter, however, told media that sharing false information or a conspiracy theory is not grounds for a tweet's removal - but insisted it was "actively working" on halting the harassment of survivors.

Even Marco Rubio, a Republican senator often associated with the NRA, has hit out at the "disgusting" conspiracy theories.

Other media commentators aren't sharing the conspiracy theories, but are continuing to ridicule the survivors.

Far-right conspiracy theorist and Fox News contributor Dinesh D'Souza has been criticised for mocking the school shooting victims in a series of tweets. In one message, he suggested their being blocked from preventing further massacres was the "worst news since their parents told them to get summer jobs".

Despite the attacks, the students are claiming to have achieved a number of accomplishments since the tragedy, including a CNN town hall event and raising substantial funds for upcoming event March For Our Lives.


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