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Florida Congressman’s Aid Fired For Suggesting Parkland Survivors Are “Crisis Actors”


screenshot via CNN

Benjamin Kelly, a Florida district secretary for Rep. Shawn Harrison, was fired from his role after he accused two survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting of being crisis actors.

GOP Rep. Shawn Harrison tweeted on Tuesday night that Kelly had been fired due to his controversial remarks.

“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.”

Mr. Kelly, a 61-year-old Republican aide, said to a Tampa Bay Times reporter that two of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students being seen on the news, specifically Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, were ‘actors’ who “travel to various crisis when they happen.”

via Tampa Bay Times:

Benjamin Kelly referred to a picture attached to a Times story, posted online hours earlier, about how Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students were drawing attacks for their outspokenness. The picture showed David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez speaking on CNN.

Asked for backup to his claim, Kelly sent another email — again from his official myfloridahouse.gov account — that included a link to a conspiracy video on YouTube. The video showed Hogg in a news clip from California over a dispute with a lifeguard involving a boogie board. Hogg had posted a video of the confrontation with the lifeguard on YouTube and it “went viral,” a news reporter said. Now, conspiracy theorists have questioned what Hogg was doing in another state, some branding him a “crisis actor.”

Wrote Kelly to the Times: “There is a clip on you tube that shows Mr. Hogg out in California. (I guess he transferred?)”

In an email to Alex Leary, a reporter for the Tampa Bay Times, Kelly said “both kids in the picture are not students here but actors who travel to various crisis when they happen.” He also sent a link to a YouTube video of Hogg in a news clip from California six months prior to the shooting.

Furthermore, Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of President Trump from his first of three marriages, liked a tweet that suggested that the 17-year-old Hogg had been “coached” by his father, a former FBI agent, to speak out against President Trump and gun control rights.

“I think it’s a testament to the sick immaturity and broken state of our government when these people feel the need to pedal conspiracy theories about people that were in a school shooting where 17 people died and it just makes me sick,” Hogg said in response to Trump Jr’s Twitter activity.

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