FACT CHECK: Is One Of The Parkland Shooting Survivors Actually A 27-Year-Old Criminal?

Emily Larsen | Fact Check Reporter

People claimed on social media that David Hogg, one of the Florida school shooting survivors advocating for gun control, is actually a 27-year-old man with a record of drug-related arrests in South Carolina.

“I’d really love for David Hogg to talk about his arrest for Cocaine or Meth Posession [sic],” said one tweet.

“Look at David Hogg’s arrest record!” said another tweet.

“Oh snap #davidhogg is a crisis actor,” said another Twitter user.

Verdict: False

While arrest records show that a David Hogg was arrested on drug-related charges, the physical description and middle name listed do not match that of the Florida student.

Fact Check:

Conspiracists used records from Arrests.org to raise questions about the legitimacy of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior David Hogg, who has been vocal about his support for gun control following the Parkland, Fla. shooting.

According to the website, a David Hogg was arrested in Anderson County, S.C. three times in nine months from 2016 to 2017, including once for possession of meth or cocaine. The South Carolina man is 27 years old.

The arrest records added fuel to conspiracy theories that Hogg is not actually a student at Stoneman Douglas, but rather a paid “crisis actor” pretending to be a victim in order to advance anti-gun viewpoints.

Some social media users saw a resemblance between the mug shot and the student, concluding that Hogg doesn’t actually attend high school. “Compare the mug shot to this kid,” said one tweet. “Remember make up artists do amazing work [sic].”

But the physical description in the arrest report doesn’t match the student’s features. The South Carolina man has blue eyes, while the Florida student’s eyes are brown. Some Twitter users rejected the theory because they didn’t see a strong resemblance between the student and the mug shot. “These people don’t even look similar at all,” said one tweet.

The two Hoggs also appear to have different middle names. Arrests.org lists the South Carolina man’s middle name as Guyton. Yet the Florida student’s middle name is Miles, according to his Instagram account, “davidmileshogg,” and many news outlets that credit his video interviews with students during the shooting to “David Miles Hogg.”

“David Hogg” is not a unique name. There are nearly 300 people in the U.S. with that name, according to Spokeo.

Furthermore, the Florida student’s Twitter and Reddit accounts show that he asked questions about high school, posted about his travels to California and Washington, D.C. and shared his photography around the same times the South Carolina man was arrested.

“How do people with no arms pull up their pants?” he asked Reddit at 2:04 p.m. on Dec. 23, 2016, hours after the South Carolina man was arrested with a $2,500 bond at 11:33 a.m. “First weekend with out homework, I’m atheist but this might be evidence of a higher power,” the student tweeted two days before the man’s arrest on May 28, 2017.

The Florida student has faced other conspiracy theories about his authenticity.

A viral video he filmed in August of a California lifeguard angrily confronting a teen prompted more skepticism. After the video surfaced, some people claimed that Hogg had actually graduated from Redondo Shores High School in California in 2015 by producing a photo of a yearbook page. But a video shows that the photo is from a 2017 Stoneman Douglas yearbook. “He moved from California our freshman year and hasn’t transferred since,” an apparent student tweeted.

Donald Trump Jr. liked two tweets suggesting that Hogg’s father, a former FBI agent, “botched” looking into tips about the school shooter and that Hogg is covering up for him. Hogg and his father condemned the conspiracies on CNN Tuesday. “The fact that Donald Trump Jr. liked that post is disgusting to me,” the student said.

The crisis actor conspiracy theories are widely condemned. YouTube and Facebook removed content asserting that Hogg is a crisis actor. An aide for a Florida legislator was fired Tuesday after claiming that the Stoneman Douglas shooting survivors “are not students here but actors that travel to various crisis when they happen.”

Hogg told The Daily Beast that he welcomes the conspiracy theories. “It makes me know that what I’m doing is right,” he said. “We get more publicity that way. They’re only helping our cause.”

David Miles Hogg, Anderson County Sheriff’s Department and Stoneman Douglas High School did not respond to requests for comment.

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Emily Larsen

Fact Check Reporter