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Ted Nugent criticized for promoting idea that Florida shooting survivors are actors


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Ted Nugent warms up the crowd before Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump takes the stage in the Grand Gallery at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Mich. on Monday, Nov. 7, 2016. (Joel Bissell | MLive.com)

Michigan rocker Ted Nugent is under fire for sharing an article on Facebook that alleges an outspoken survivor of the Feb. 14 mass shooting in Parkland, Fla. is an actor coached to push for gun control.

Nugent, an outspoken conservative who was one of President Donald Trump's strongest supporters during his crucial Michigan campaign, shared an article Tuesday that was posted by the less-than-credible publication Natural News. 

The article titled "It's all theater: Florida high school shooting survivor caught on video rehearsing scripted lines, coached by camera man," has received significant traction since then. 

Nugent, a National Rifle Association board member, also liked a comment made on his page that alleges the person in question, 17-year-old David Hogg, is not a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, but a 26-year-old paid actor. 


The controversy, or conspiracy depending on who you ask, started when Benjamin Kelly, district secretary for Florida Rep. Shawn Harrison, sent the following email to Tampa Bay Times reporter Alex Leary. 


Here's the email. I asked for more information to back up the claim and was sent another email that linked to a YouTube conspiracy video.



The unsubstantiaed claim quckly drew the attention of national media. Kelly has since been fired and Harrison has said he is "appalled" and does not share his aide's opinion. 

I was just made aware that my aide made an insensitive and inappropriate allegation about Parkland students today. 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.

-- Shawn Harrison (@Shawnfor63) February 20, 2018


Tonight Mr. Kelly was terminated from his position as my District Secretary. I am appalled at and strongly denounce his comments about the Parkland students. I am again sorry for any pain this has caused the grieving families of this tragedy.

-- Shawn Harrison (@Shawnfor63) February 21, 2018


Hogg, along with other students, has frequently appeared on television to call for gun control in the days since the shooting that killed 17 people from his school, many of them children. 

"I'm not a crisis actor," Hogg told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Tuesday. "I'm someone who had to witness this and live through this and I continue to be having to do that."

Nugent's actions have been supported by some, but others are condeming the rocker. A statement released by Michigan Democratic Party Chair Brandon Dillon called Nugent "vile and disgusting" for "pushing the disgusting and harmful conspiracy theory." 

He also called on Attorney General Bill Schuette to reject any endorsement from the rocker. The statement reads as follows: 


"Ted Nugent is an embodiment of the sickness and hate it takes for someone to attack innocent students standing up for their friends whose lives were taken. We know that Bill Schuette doesn't care about Terrible Ted's draft dodging or alleged pedophilia. However, if Schuette has even an ounce of decency, he will finally take this opportunity to condemn Nugent by rejecting his endorsement."

As of Wednesday afternoon, Nugent has yet to remove the story from his Facebook page. The post has more than 24,000 reactions and nearly 22,000 shares. 

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