Washington (AFP) – A Fox News TV host, facing blowback with advertisers, apologized Thursday for criticizing a teenager who survived a Florida school shooting that left 17 people dead.
Laura Ingraham had accused David Hogg, one of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students pushing for tighter gun regulations after the rampage, of “whining” over not being accepted into several colleges.
“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.)” Ingraham wrote on Twitter Wednesday.
Hogg, who has 628,000 followers on Twitter, tweeted a list of Ingraham’s top advertisers, urging people to contact them to complain.
Several advertisers announced they were dumping Ingraham, including TripAdvisor, Wayfair and Nutrish, while Nestle is also reportedly ceasing to buy ads on her program.
Ingraham took to Twitter to apologize.
“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.
But Hogg dismissed Ingraham’s reversal as an effort to keep advertisers rather than a sincere expression of remorse.
“An apology in an effort just to save your advertisers is not enough. I will only accept your apology only if you denounce the way your network has treated my friends and I in this fight. It’s time to love thy neighbor, not mudsling at children,” he tweeted.
Hogg, a 17-year-old, took refuge in a closet during the school shooting, and despite the terrifying circumstances, filmed interviews with fellow students while in hiding, which went viral.
He became one of the most visible student leaders in the movement calling for stricter firearms regulations, which has been driven by Parkland survivors.
The teen has been attacked and harassed online, and even accused of being a “crisis actor” paid to travel to tragedies to propagate liberal viewpoints.
More than a million Americans turned out on Saturday for nationwide protests to demand action on gun control.