The massive gun control movement founded by survivors of the 2018 Parkland High School shooting in Florida split after a member started his own business venture to challenge Donald Trump’s ally Mike Lindell , and his company My Pillow.
David Hogg has been accused of “grift” by other leaders of the March for Our Lives group for his news Good pillow business, which former high school student Marjory Stoneman Douglas launched this week just days before the Feb. 14 anniversary of the massacre which took 17 lives.
In a tweeted statement, March for Our Lives (MFOL) reported that 20-year-old Hogg was taking time off as a board member “to take time to reflect and re-engage in the mission.”
The statement, presumably written by the co-founders of Hogg, continues: “We want our young activists, supporters and followers to know that the Good Pillow Company is not associated with March for Our Lives.
But he conceded: “Gun violence survivors are whole people and we encourage them to find inspiration and passion outside of their trauma.”
Hogg, now a student at Harvard University, announced the formation of Good Pillow on Tuesday, and the company, created in partnership with blockchain tech entrepreneur William LeGate, quickly amassed over 80,000 Twitter followers.
Intended to act as a foil to My Pillow owner Lindell, who was banned by twitter and lucrative business lost for his support for Trump’s lies about a “stolen” presidential election, Good Pillow promised to be a “quality, ethical and sustainable company”.
Immediately after its launch, Good Pillow said it was silent for a few days to recognize the third anniversary of the Parkland shooting. “While we honor those we lost on this horrific day, we remain fully committed to keeping our promises,” Hogg and LeGate said in a joint statement.
Cameron Kasky, 20, another Parkland survivor, gun reform activist and founder of MFOL, used Twitter to appear to attack Hogg’s actions, without mentioning him by name. “To those of you who marched, donated, lobbied and called for change… I’m so sorry that this turned out. It’s embarrassing, “he wrote in the first one of a long series of critical messages.
“But welcome to America, it all ends in a scam.”
In another discussion thread he wrote: “Hm, I see a lot of support for my pillow grift tweets from members of the Parkland community and members of the gun violence prevention community at nationwide. “
This is the second time in two weeks that Hogg has been caught up in a controversy. He requested resignation Georgian Republican extremist Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene last month after a video was released showing she was harassing him in Washington DC, following the conspiracy theorist’s claims that the Parkland shooting had been staged.
On Wednesday he released a Twitter statement on his own, admitting he said “maybe too much” before the anniversary, and apologizing for “undermining” his peers at March For Our Lives.
“To my fellow organizers and those I love the most, I would like to express my sincere apologies,” he wrote. “You have all been there for me during the most difficult times of my life, and I also want to thank you for your continued practice of holding me accountable. The other activists who lack the platform and the privilege I have reminded myself that this work requires unwavering commitment. “
Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime, 14, was one of the shooting victims, offered his support to Hogg. “A very ripe decision. Always there if you need it, ”he wrote in a tweet.
Teenage survivors of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas formed Walk for our lives in the days immediately following the Valentine’s Day shooting by a former student, meeting in everyone’s bedrooms and in local parks to develop tactics and strategies.
It quickly turned into a global movement pushing for gun law controls and reforms, and in March 2018, six weeks after the shooting, hundreds of thousands rallied to Washington DC, in the United States and in cities around the world calling for change.
Its most prominent founding members, including Hogg, Kasky, Emma Gonzalez and Jaclyn Corin, have continued their activism, since graduating from universities and colleges, and maintain an influential platform with millions of social media followers.
But despite the reach of the young activists’ messages, the group and its allies such as Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action have not been able to achieve large-scale federal or state gun reforms.
Many gun control bills in Congress have been thwarted by previous Republican majorities, and smaller successes have been mostly limited to state legislatures, such as Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act which raised the purchase age for firearms from 18 to 21, banned rapid-fire shock stocks. and improving funding for mental health.
March for Our Lives also worked to reduce the gun lobby’s influence on national politics and celebrated the bankruptcy of the National Rifle Association last month.
Joe Biden’s election to the White House, meanwhile, sparked optimism from the group about improving gun safety laws, including reinstating the country’s lapsed ban on guns. assault weapons, may soon be back on the table.
In a press briefing ThursdayBiden press secretary Jen Psaki said: “Tackling gun violence in the country and putting in additional security measures is something the president is personally committed to.”