Lake County school board member walks back Parkland 'crisis actor' post

Bill Mathias calls high school shooting survivor an 'imposter'

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Lake County School Board member Bill Mathias has deleted his Facebook post of a fake news story calling one of the Parkland, Florida, high school students a "crisis actor."

Seventeen students and teachers were killed on Feb. 14 and more than 16 others were injured when a former student opened fire on the Broward County school campus. The students who witnessed and survived the mass shooting have become the face of a new movement calling for common sense gun control legislation.

Since the Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, several conspiracy theories have been circulating online about the high school students-turned-advocates.

A week after the shooting, Mathias shared a link propitiating that false narrative about student David Hogg, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

“At first I thought fake post, so I Google search: David Hogg crisis actor,” Mathias said in the Facebook post. “I don’t care where you stand on the ‘gun’ issue, this is WRONG… Truth is he is an imposter and a quick background would expose him.”

The photo showed two side-by-side photos of Hogg from a recent television interview after the shooting and one from the summer in California for another story. Hogg is an aspiring journalist and regularly shares his stories and videos on social media.

Conspiracy theorists have implied that he is a "crisis actor" and not a real shooting survivor, which is not true.

Mathias later deleted the post and shared a link to a story that easily explained why Hogg has appeared in the media in Florida and California.

"I shared earlier a post that David Hogg is a crisis actor," Mathias said.

"When I goggled him the immediate findings seemed to support allegation. This post seems most reasonable explanation why he is in the media so often."

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