The untold truth of David Hogg

On Feb. 14, 2018, a 19-year-old expelled student named Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., killing 17 students and staff members and injuring 17 others. It was a horrific shooting that served as another stark example of gun violence in America. Student David Hogg and a group of fellow survivors have made it their mission to ensure that the nation remembers the attack and does something about it. They became activists, starting the Never Again movement and appearing in town halls and on television demanding immediate change. A little more than a month after the shooting, Hogg and the Parkland students organized and led the massive March For Our Lives protest in Washington, DC, calling for gun reform. 

"This is the start of the spring and the blossoming of our democracy. So let's take this to our local legislators, and let's take this to midterm elections, because without the persistence — heat — without the persistence of voters and Americans everywhere, getting out to every election, democracy will not flourish," Hogg said in his fiery speech. "But it can, and it will. So, I say to those politicians that say change will not come, I say: We will not stop until every man, every woman, every child, and every American can live without fear of gun violence. And to that, I say: No more."

What else do we know about this young activist? Let's take a look at the untold truth of David Hogg.

His activism prompted Walmart, L.L. Bean to make changes

During an interview with The Outline, David Hogg discussed the specific gun legislation he wants to see passed as federal mandates. One change he supports is raising the age requirement for firearm sales to 21. Reacting to public outcry and pressure from Marjory Stoneman Douglas students' "Never Again" movement, the state of California and four major retailers enacted significant changes.

"In light of recent events, we've taken an opportunity to review our policy on firearm sales. Going forward, we are raising the age restriction for purchase of firearms and ammunition to 21 years of age," retail giant Walmart announced in a statement. L.L. Bean did the same. "In the wake of this shooting we have reviewed our policy on firearm sales, and we will no longer be selling guns or ammunition to anyone under the age of 21," the company announced on Twitter (via CNN). Dick's Sporting Goods and Fred Meyer also raised the minimum age for gun purchases. In September 2018, then California Gov. Jerry Brown "signed a series of gun control bills into law, including one that raises the minimum age from 18 to 21 for buying rifles and shotguns," reported USA Today.

Fox News' Laura Ingraham mocked him ... and lost advertisers

Despite a 4.2 GPA and a 1270 SAT score, David Hogg received multiple college rejection letters, including one from UCLA. "Sure, it's disappointing and annoying, but not surprising. There are a lot of amazing people who do not get into or go to college" Hogg said (via The New York Times). "I wanted to make a difference through storytelling and political activism, but I am already doing that now." 

Fox News TV commentator Laura Ingraham shared an article about Hogg's rejections on Twitter and accused him whining about them. In response, Hogg tweeted: "Soooo @IngrahamAngle what are your biggest advertisers … Asking for a friend. #BoycottIngramAdverts," then he listed some of her advertisers in a follow-up tweet. Those companies responded in kind, with "at least eight" pulling their ads from The Ingraham Angle.

Ingraham later apologized. "Any student should be proud of a 4.2 GPA —incl. @DavidHogg111. On reflection, in the spirit of Holy Week, I apologize for any upset or hurt my tweet caused him or any of the brave victims of Parkland," she tweeted. However, Hogg wasn't buying it. "She only apologized after we went after her advertisers. It kind of speaks for itself," he said (via The New York Times). "I'm not going to stoop to her level and go after her on a personal level. I'm going to go after her advertisers."

Bill Maher called him a bully

Bill Maher invited David Hogg and fellow Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School classmate Cameron Kasky on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher in March 2018. The comedian was impressed by the young activists, saying, "I honestly thought kids were a lot stupider. You have really given me faith that the kids today are actually very bright, way brighter than we were."

However, Maher was not as impressed with Hogg when the teen called for a boycott of Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham. After prefacing that he believes Ingraham is "a deliberately terrible person" and praising the young activists for their work, Maher defended Ingraham's position by defending free speech (via Mediaite). "If you're going to be out there in the arena and make yourselves the champions of this cause people are going to have the right, I think, to argue back," he said. When some folks in the audience clapped at the mention of the boycott, Maher asked, "Really? Is that American?" 

When a guest panelist began to push back, Maher doubled down: "[Hogg] complains about bullying? That's bullying!" Maher said. "I have been the victim of a boycott … It is wrong. You shouldn't do this by team, you should do it by principle."

He took on Publix and won

According to a 2018 report in the Tampa Bay Times, Publix gave Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam "$670,000 in the last three years" which was more than the supermarket giant had given "any other candidate since at least 1995 and likely for the entirety of the company's history." Putnam is a staunch supporter of the NRA, so David Hogg called for a boycott of the grocery store chain and called the Florida candidate "an NRA sellout." It's worth noting that Putnam had previously tweeted that he is, in fact, a "proud #NRASellout.Hogg ratcheted up the pressure and announced a "die in" on May 25, 2018 inside two Publix stories. "Feel free to die in with us at as many other @Publix as possible," he tweeted.

All that negative attention appeared to prompt change. "We regret that our contributions have led to a divide in our community. We did not intend to put our associates and the customers they serve in the middle of a political debate," Publix said in a statement (via CNN). "As a result, we decided earlier this week to suspend corporate-funded political contributions as we reevaluate our giving processes." By the way, Putnam lost the GOP primary to Ron DeSantis.

He was a victim of 'swatting'

The act of "swatting" is making a hoax 911 call that reports crimes so horrific that they trigger heavily-armed responses from law enforcement. In June 2018 (per Local 10), David Hogg's Parkland, Fla. home was "swatted," prompting the Broward Sheriff's Office SWAT to arrive in full force. However, the authorities "found no hostage situation and determined the call was a prank."

According to Hogg's neighbors, the scene was tense. "Today, we're walking — we're going for a walk, and we saw some helicopters here, so we're like, 'Oh my God. What's going on?'" Marcia Marques told Local 10. Hogg responded too: "I think it's really a distraction from what we're trying to fix here, which is the massive gun-violence epidemic in this country." He added, "I want people to know, like, we're just trying to advocate for change. There's going to be people against it and always will be, but we're going to keep going no matter what. Nothing will stop us."

A 78-year-old man sent a threatening letter to his home

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that a 78-year-old man named Warren Stanley Bond was arrested in December 2018 and charged with "mailing a threatening communication to the home of the family of David Hogg." Addressed to David Hogg's mother, Rebecca Boldrick, the letter was delivered June 25, 2018 with no return address. The envelope reportedly contained a white sheet of paper that "contained a single sentence in large, bold, typed letters" that read, "Keep F******* with the NRA and you will be DOA."

Investigators reportedly tracked the serial number on the stamp a post office where surveillance footage showed Bond paying for it with his credit card. Bond initially said he didn't remember mailing the letter but eventually confessed. "If I see her face to face, I would tell her the same thing," he reportedly told investigators. "I don't agree with all the people in that school." According to prosecutors, "At no point during the interview did Bond express any remorse or concern for how the letter was perceived by the recipient."

He called for a boycott of Florida

David Hogg clearly realizes that hitting institutions in their pockets is an effective way to produce change. Two weeks after the mass shooting at his school, Hogg called for people to boycott Florida during spring break to force his home state to address gun reform. "Let's make a deal DO NOT come to Florida for spring break unless gun legislation is passed. These politions [sic] won't listen to us so maybe the'll [sic] listen to the billion dollar tourism industry in FL. #neveragain," he tweeted. He also suggested an alternative"Better Idea: Spend your spring break in Puerto Rico, it's a beautiful place with amazing people. They could really use the economic support that the government has failed to provide."

Refresher: Puerto Rico is in desperate need of economic help to rebuild after Hurricane Maria in 2017, and Hogg isn't the only one encouraging folks to spend their fun money there. "You want to help Puerto Rico? Go on vacation there," said Manuel Laboy, secretary of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (via Fast Company).

He was accepted to Harvard and plans to run for Congress

On Dec. 22, 2018, David Hogg announced on Twitter that he would be attending college after all. At Harvard. (Take that, UCLA.) "Thank you all for the well wishes, I'll be attending Harvard in the fall with a planned major in Political Science," he wrote. Hogg was also reportedly accepted to the University of California, Irvine, in April 2018, but his mother told CNN that he was taking a gap year to "work on the midterm elections" and "get people to vote." However, with that Harvard acceptance letter in hand, we expect Irvine is probably off the table.

Hogg also plans to run for Congress as soon as he's eligible. (A U.S. representative must be at least 25, and senators must be at least 30 years old.) "I think I've come to that conclusion," he told New York Magazine. "I want to be at least part of the change in Congress."