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Florida GOP Rep’s aide, Benjamin Kelly, fired after pushing conspiracy that school shooting survivors are ‘actors’

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Florida Republican’s aide fired after pushing right-wing conspiracy that Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivors are ‘actors’

Benjamin Kelly, an aide for Florida GOP Rep. Shawn Harrison, was fired Tuesday

Kelly falsely claimed speaker’s for the student body seeking changes in Florida’s gun laws, Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, were “actors” 

David Hogg is a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Gonzalez is also a student at the school 

Both are survivors of the gruesome shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last Wednesday that left 17 people dead and 14 injured

A former student, 19-year-old , Nikolas Cruz, used to attend the school mowed down students and teachers with an AR-15 assault rifle

As the news trended, Kelly’s boss, Florida GOP Rep Shawn Harrison, fired Kelly after calling his former aide’s comments “insensitive and inappropriate”

 

Benjamin Kelly, was canned within hours of pushing a right-wing conspiracy theory that disparages survivors of last week’s school shooting as “actors.”
Kelly, the district secretary for GOP Rep. Shawn Harrison prompted outrage after telling a Tampa Bay Times reporter that two Parkland, Fla., students who had appeared in a TV interview were in fact “actors” who “travel to various crisis when they happen.”
“Both kids in the picture are not students,” Kelly wrote to the reporter in an email from his official account, linking to a widely-debunked conspiracy theory perpetuated by right-wing websites.

David Hogg 1Pushing an ultra right agenda, Kelly falsely claimed shooting survivor,  David Hogg, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is an “actor”

The students in question, Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, survived a gruesome shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last Wednesday that left 17 people dead. The 19-year-old gunman, Nikolas Cruz, who was expelled from the school last year, sneaked back on campus and mowed down his former classmates and teachers with an AR-15 assault rifle
As Kelly’s shocking email made the rounds on social media, Harrison issued a statement rebuking his staffer’s comments as “insensitive and inappropriate.” Less than an hour later, Kelly announced that he had been fired.

Sheryl Acquarola, a 16 year-old junior from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is overcome with emotion in the east gallery of the House of Representatives after the representatives voted not to hear the bill banning assault rifles and large capacity magazines at the Florida Capital in Tallahassee, Fla., Feb 20, 2018. Acquarola was one of the survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that left 17 dead, who were in Tallahassee channeling their anger and sadness into action. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor, Sheryl Acquarola, 16, weeps after Florida lawmakers voted not to hear the bill banning assault rifles and large capacity magazine on Feb 20

As the enormity of his insensitive onslaught on the students sank in, Kelly tried to retrace his footsteps: “I made a mistake whereas I tried to inform a reporter of information relating to his story regarding a school shooting,” Kelly tweeted.

“This was not my responsibility. I meant no disrespect to the students or parents of Parkland.”
However, he was silent as on whether he really believes that Hogg and Gonzalez are actors. In a follow-up tweet, the disgraced district secretary quoted a Bible verse: “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

A flag was draped over Peter Wang's coffin 1.pngA flag was draped over 17-year-old, Peter Wang’s coffin as he was laid to rest. Wang was buried in his JROTC uniform and with an Army Medal of Heroism. He was also admitted posthumously to West Point
Emma Gozalez 1Emma Gonzalez is one of the students advocating tightened gun controls that Kelly falsely claimed was an “actor.”

Harrison condemned his ex-aide in a second statement late Tuesday.
“I am appalled at and strongly denounce his comments about the Parkland students,” Harrison said. “I am again sorry for any pain this has caused the grieving families of this tragedy.”

Shawn Harrison 2.jpg
 Florida GOP Rep Shawn Harrison fired Kelly after calling his former aide’s comments “insensitive and inappropriate”

 

Shawn Harrison fires aide.png

Shawn Harrison fires aide tweet 2.png

Kelly’s shocking comments were based in part on an inflammatory conspiracy theory pushed by the pro-Trump Gateway Pundit site that claims Hogg has been “coached on anti-Trump lines” by his ex-FBI agent father.
Jacelyn Corin, a student at Stoneman Douglas, took to Twitter Tuesday night to inform Kelly that she and her friends are “KIDS — not actors.”
“We are KIDS that have grown up in Parkland all of our lives,” Corin tweeted. “We are KIDS who feared for our lives while someone shot up our school. We are KIDS working to prevent this from happening again. WE ARE KIDS.”

 

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