David Hogg, a 17-year-old student who survived February's mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, on Monday night downplayed claims that his boycott of Fox News host Laura Ingraham's advertisers was being led by "powerful, shadowy radical groups."
Hogg, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, appeared on MSNBC's "The Last Word," where he was asked about former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly's tweet about the boycott "being directed by powerful, shadowy radical groups who want Laura Ingraham off the air."
Hogg went after Ingraham's advertisers last week after she tweeted out an article about Hogg being turned down from four different campuses in the University of California school system—UC Los Angeles, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Irvine. The boycott, which has been pushed by Media Matters for America among other liberal-leaning groups, has led to at least 15 companies dropping their ads from her show in the last week.
While Ingraham apologized on Twitter a day after the initial tweet, Hogg did not accept the apology and instead continued to call on his Twitter followers to help put pressure on Ingraham's advertisers by sharing the Media Matters article with a list of all her advertisers.
"I don't have any shadowy figures behind me... I'm just a kid that uses Twitter if he sees me as powerful that's okay. I don't see myself that way.
– David Hogg says in response to Bill O'Reilly comments that 'powerful, shadowy radical groups' are leading ad boycott. pic.twitter.com/mMM70WQ8JJ
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) April 3, 2018
"I'm pretty well lit. I don't see any shadowy figures behind me," said Hogg, who appeared to downplay Media Matters' involvement. "Honestly, if he sees powerful shadowy groups, as corporate America standing with us. Okay? I guess it doesn't really make sense."
Hogg's attempt at a boycott campaign got the attention of Media Matters for America president Angelo Carusone, who has been instrumental in targeting Fox News host Sean Hannity's advertisers. Hogg's tweet prompted Carusone to warn him about the importance of being "careful with advertiser lists unless you really know the source they came from and how they compiled."
Media Matters was founded by David Brock, an ally of Hillary Clinton, and is partly funded by liberal billionaire George Soros, who donated a $1 million back in 2010 "to hold Fox News accountable for the false and misleading information they so often broadcast." Think Progress editor and founder Judd Legum has also been instrumental in pushing the boycott on Twitter and through multiple articles on his website.
Hogg then shifted the conversation away from shadowy groups to discuss the negativity aimed at the gun control movement, where he has emerged as a national voice.
"I want to focus on what's ahead for our movement. It's really what we need to be focusing on is the positivity and really bringing everybody together and that's the first thing that we have coming up are the town halls on April 7th that we are trying to get into every Congressional district," Hogg said.
He then addressed O'Reilly and Ingraham's criticism of him by saying it is "absolutely okay" for them to criticize him on policy differences, but added they are crossing a line when they go after him or any of the gun control student activists on a personal level.
"What does that accomplish? It doesn't make any sense. I don't have any shadowy figures behind me. At least, I don't see any. I'm pretty well lit and I'm just a kid that uses Twitter and if he sees me as powerful, that's okay. I don't see myself that way," Hogg said.
Hogg talked about the importance of not attacking others personally, but he has held himself to a different standard in recent weeks. He called the National Rifle Association and Republican politicians it supports "pathetic fuckers" that "want to continue to sell more guns, murder more children, and honestly just get reelected."