PARKLAND, Fla. — Student survivors of a mass shooting in Florida who've organized to increase gun control and make schools safer aren't being bankrolled by billionaire liberal philanthropist George Soros, despite the claims of several false stories.
Soros is not providing any funding to the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, although he does support their efforts, said his spokeswoman, Laura Silber.
"Those who smear their motives, and try to paint their genuine grassroots activism as somehow bought and paid for, do them — and the country — a grave disservice," Soros' organization, the Open Societies Foundations, said in a statement after the Feb. 14 shooting.
The students began lobbying to change gun laws shortly after the shooting that killed 17, planning a March 24 demonstration in Washington and drawing supporters on social media and through television appearances.
Some stories claim Soros is connected with members of Women's March Youth Empower, another student group that's organizing March 14 school walkouts against gun violence, and that a "Soros-funded 'National Gun Control Movement'" seeks the confiscation of guns in the U.S.
Silber said the Open Society Foundations have supported organizations working on gun violence prevention in the past, but don't currently do so. She also said there's no connection between the foundations and Women's March Youth Empower.
Buzzfeed has reported on the connections between the Parkland student-activists and the existing progressive organizing infrastructure.
Times staff writer Kirby Wilson contributed to this report.