After Fox News host Laura Ingraham pounced on Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg for his college rejections, the backlash has been swift, prompting Ingraham to issue an apology Thursday.
“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,” Ingraham tweeted on Thursday after some of her top advertisers severed ties with her Fox News show, “The Ingraham Angle,” due to her comments.
The backlash began earlier in the week, when Ingraham made fun of Hogg, who has been a vocal activist after the Feb. 14 shooting that claimed 17 lives, for being rejected from four universities in the University of California school system. She tweeted a story by the Daily Wire addressing the rejections, adding on Twitter, “David Hogg Rejected By Four Colleges To Which He Applied and whines about it. (Dinged by UCLA with a 4.1 GPA...totally predictable given acceptance rates.)”
Hogg, who has a 4.2 GPA, was accepted by Florida Atlantic University, Cal Poly and Cal State San Marcos. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior was in the school when shooter Nikolas Cruz opened fire, killing 14 students and three faculty members.
On Wednesday night, Hogg tweeted a response to Ingraham: “Soooo @IngrahamAngle what are your biggest advertisers ... Asking for a friend. #BoycottIngrahamAdverts.”
He followed shortly after with a list of 12 of Ingraham’s top advertisers urging his 634,000 followers to contact them. The list included ATT, AllState, Hulu, Nestle, TripAdvisor, Wayfair and Nutrish, Rachael Ray’s pet-food brand.
As of Thursday evening, five advertisers had promised to cut ties with Ingraham.
Nutrish tweeted at Hogg that, “We are in the process of removing our ads from Laura Ingraham’s program.” TripAdvisor, Wayfair, Hulu, Nestle, also answered the call to stop advertising on Ingraham’s show.
Ingraham’s apology came after advertisers had already started to back out. In a series of tweets Thursday, she added that any student “should be proud” of a 4.2 GPA and noted that she believed her show was the first to feature Hogg after the shooting.
“As always, he’s welcome to return to the show anytime for a productive discussion,” she tweeted, adding a link to an interview with Hogg on the day of the shooting.
But the apology wasn’t enough.
Hogg dismissed it Thursday, calling it an effort to save her advertisers.
“I will only accept your apology only if you denounce the way your network has treated my friends and I in this fight,” he tweeted. “It’s time to love thy neighbor, not mudsling at children.”
Igraham’s comments were short of the first attacks aimed at the most vocal members of the teen movement that has erupted in the wake of the Parkland shooting — but they still struck a nerve.
Hogg’s sister Lauren Hogg, a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, tweeted that Ingraham’s comments were “real low even for you.”
“How low are your ratings @IngrahamAngle that you have to start attacking my brother’s grades to get attention? ...Coming from a 14 year old, please grow up. #NeverAgain,” Lauren Hogg tweeted Wednesday.
On Sunday, Emma González, another central figure in the student movement, was the subject of an attack from Congressman Steve King, R-Iowa, who posted a photo of González in an olive green jacket with a patch of the Cuban flag (the clothes she wore during the March for Our Lives protest in Washington last week) on his Facebook re-election campaign page.
“This is how you look when you claim Cuban heritage yet don’t speak Spanish and ignore the fact that your ancestors fled the island when the dictatorship turned Cuba into a prison camp, after removing all weapons from its citizens; hence their right to self defense,” King wrote.
The jacket spurred comments from more than just King, with some people equating González’s choice of jacket and patch with sympathy for Cuba’s Communist regime. In the island nation, olive green jackets were a symbol of Fidel Castro’s revolution in 1959.
Since, González, who is of Cuban descent, has said the patch was worn to simply honor her Cuban heritage.
Rep.Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, tweeted at King in support of González, saying she had spoken to González’s father about the backlash.
“I spoke to Jose Gonzalez who explained that @Emma4Change is proud of her dad and abuela’s [grandmother’s] #Cuban heritage and in no way was it a sign of support for the #Castro dictatorship,” Ros-Lehtinen tweeted.
She added: “Many #Miami homes also have Cuban flags, @SteveKingIA. That doesn’t equal support 4 Castro. Folks should learn about our community before criticizing a high school student.”
The student activists have gotten support as far as the Vatican City, where Pope Francis on Palm Sunday marked World Youth Day by urging the students to continue raising their voices against injustice.
“There are many ways to sedate them, to keep them from getting involved, to make their dreams flat and dreary, petty and plaintive,” the pope said. “Dear young people, you have it in you to shout.”