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'Where shooting is a pleasure:' David Hogg organizes 'die-in' protest at Publix

'Where shooting is a pleasure:' David Hogg organizes 'die-in' protest at Publix
Posted at 2:39 PM, May 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-25 12:59:43-04

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. (WPLG) - Parkland school shooting survivor and activist David Hogg is playing dead for a purpose.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student was joined by friends early Friday as they staged a preview of their planned "die-in" protest in the parking lot of a Publix supermarket in Coral Springs.

Hogg is orchestrating the protest over the Florida grocery store chain's support for gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam.

The teenagers drew chalk outlines of bodies in the store's parking lot as part of their crusade to end gun violence. One of the teens could be seen laying in a chalk outline as Sky 10 flew overhead.

"More people have died in school than have died in war this year," Hogg said in a video posted to his Twitter account Friday morning.

In recent days, Publix has come under criticism over social media from the survivors of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after the Tampa Bay Times reported that the Lakeland-based company gave Putnam more than $500,000 for his campaign.

"Where shooting is a pleasure" was scrawled in chalk in the Publix parking lot, a play on the store's "Where shopping is a pleasure" slogan.

Hogg and fellow classmate Diego Pfeiffer drew the chalk outlines of 17 bodies -- one for each person killed in the Valentine's Day massacre. A cleaning crew later washed away the chalk.

Putnam, a Republican and currently Florida's agriculture commissioner, is a strong supporter of gun rights and referred to himself as a "proud NRA sellout" in a 2017 Twitter post.

"Publix is a family, local store, which should support things that are better for families, such as not gun violence," Pfeiffer told Local 10 News.

Hogg is calling for a boycott of Publix and wants customers to lay down in front of the cash registers at 4 p.m. for 12 minutes.

"I'm calling on Publix to, one, never support an NRA-supported politician or candidate ever again, and two, pull their money out of his campaign, double it and donate it to the victims fund," Hogg told Local 10 News.

Local 10 News reporter Todd Tongen was at the Publix in Parkland Friday afternoon as Hogg and about two dozen gun control supporters laid on the floor in the grocery store for the die-in.

National Rifle Association supporters were also inside the grocery store, shouting at those who were taking part in the protest.

Police were on hand to make sure the protest stayed peaceful. The store's general manager appeared to be overwhelmed and ordered members of the media to remain off the property.

Publix has said it hasn't provided any financial support to the National Rifle Association. On Friday, the company announced that it will stop making corporate-funded political donations -- at least for now.

"At Publix, we respect the students and members of the community who have chosen to express their voices on these issues," Publix said in a statement. "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.

"At the same time, we remain committed to maintaining a welcoming shopping environment for our customers. We would never knowingly disappoint our customers or the communities we serve. As a result, we decided earlier this week to suspend corporate-funded political contributions as we reevaluate our giving processes."

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Local 10 News reporter Todd Tongen was at the Publix in Parkland Friday afternoon as Hogg and about two dozen gun control supporters laid on the floor in the grocery store for the die-in.

National Rifle Association supporters were also inside the grocery store, shouting at those who were taking part in the protest. 

Police were on hand to make sure the protest stayed peaceful. The store's general manager appeared to be overwhelmed and ordered members of the media to remain off the property.

Publix has said it hasn't provided any financial support to the National Rifle Association. On Friday, the company announced that it will stop making corporate-funded political donations -- at least for now.

"At Publix, we respect the students and members of the community who have chosen to express their voices on these issues," Publix said in a statement. "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.

"At the same time, we remain committed to maintaining a welcoming shopping environment for our customers. We would never knowingly disappoint our customers or the communities we serve. As a result, we decided earlier this week to suspend corporate-funded political contributions as we reevaluate our giving processes."