A new documentary by CBS News reveals that Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student David Hogg, who has become the face of the student body’s push for gun control, was not at the school at the time of the shooting.
The bombshell comes from David Hogg himself, who made the admission to a CBS News interviewer as part of the documentary “39 Days.” The program chronicles the birth of the student-led “Never Again” movement that culminated in the “March for our Lives” in Washington D.C. on Saturday.
“39 Days” has not yet aired, but an excerpt posted online by CBS News (and included below) includes interviews with the students leading the gun control movement, including Hogg, Delaney Tarr, Cameron Kasky, and Emma Gonzalez. Hogg, who describes himself as a “student journalist,” admits he was at home at the time of the shooting, but rode his bike to school to “get as many interviews as I could.”
That directly contradicts statements he gave to Time Magazine (included below) where he claims to have been in class at the time of the shooting.
DAVID HOGG: On the day of the shooting, I got my camera and got on my bike and rode as fast as I could three miles from my house to the school to get as much video and to get as many interviews as I could because I knew that this could not be another mass shooting.
Hogg does not elaborate as to why he was not at school at the time of the shooting.
He also admits that he did not know most of the students who were killed.
DAVID HOGG: I didn’t know most of these people at a very personal level, but I wanted to make their voices heard and that’s what I’m really trying to do.
The admission is likely to stoke criticism from those who say Hogg is using the tragedy to advance himself and grab the spotlight. Hogg has been the target of many conspiracy theorists, including those who say he was not a real student (or even went to school in California) or even a crisis actor. Both accusations have been roundly discredited.
The new claim that he was at home contradicts his interview with Time Magazine just days after the shooting, in which Hogg said he was in class.
When Hogg heard a “pop” while sitting in an AP environmental science class around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, he told his teacher it sounded strangely like a gunshot. But there had been a fire drill that very morning and talk of a “Code Red” exercise to prepare for an active shooter. This must just be a surprise drill, he reasoned.
And then the fire alarm sounded. Dutifully acting on it, Hogg and other students tried to exit the building. A janitor—Hogg doesn’t know his name but calls him an angel—knew where the shots were coming from and sent the students back. Then a culinary arts teacher, Ashley Kurth, pulled Hogg and others inside, locked the door, and made them hide in a closet. Checking Twitter and Instagram, Hogg—who’s an editor at the school’s TV station—found the news that the shooting was real and ongoing.
The shots continued for what felt like an eternity. Hogg considered the possibility that he would not live to see the end of the day.
“While I was in there, I thought, ‘What impact have I had? What will my story be if I die here?’” Hogg told TIME in the hours following the ordeal. “And the only thing I could think of was, pull out my camera and try telling others. As a student journalist, as an aspiring journalist, that’s all I could think: Get other people’s stories on tape. If we all die, the camera survives, and that’s how we get the message out there, about how we want change to be brought about.”
CBS News did not challenge Hogg on his contradictory statements, and Hogg himself has not explained the contradiction.
Hogg’s statement can be seen just past the 4:30 mark of the video clip below.
Hogg had raised eyebrows – and drew criticism – when he recently complained that the rights of students were being violated after Douglas High School began requiring students to use clear backpacks, to cut down on possible weapons being smuggled in.
“It’s unnecessary, it’s embarrassing for a lot of the students and it makes them feel isolated and separated from the rest of American school culture where they’re having essentially their First Amendment rights infringed upon because they can’t freely wear whatever backpack they want regardless of what it is,” Hogg said.
— Axios (@axios) March 23, 2018