Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel praised the inspiring activism of teenage anti-gun protestors around the country, who have vocalized the need for gun control legislation after the Parkland, Florida school shooting.
The students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – where a gunman recently killed 17 students and teachers – lead the charge. They marched to the State House in Tallahassee while the Florida legislature voted down a motion to debate a ban on assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines. Instead, as Colbert noted, the Florida House focused on a bill that would declare porn dangerous.
“What do you have against teenagers?” Colbert deadpanned on The Late Show. “First you won’t do anything about guns now you’re taking away their porn.” Then, mimicking a concerned parent knocking on a bedroom door, he cracked, “What are you doing in there? You better be loading a gun, young man!”
While the gun control movement grew, so did far-right conspiracy theories. Some accused the Parkland students of being paid protestors or “crisis actors” hired to stir up anti-gun sentiment. “That is wrong on a lot of levels,” Colbert said. “Not just because it diminishes the tragedy of what these kids experienced, but it also gives theater majors false hope that someday they’ll get jobs. I speak from experience here – improv’s where the big money is.”
Kimmel addressed these conspiracies in a blunter tone during his monologue on Jimmy Kimmel Live. He pointed out that articles claiming to “expose” the Florida protestors are not just being discussed on the fringes of social media, they’ve been liked and shared by Donald Trump Jr. and NRA board member Ted Nugent.
“I want you to consider this, especially if you’re a Trump supporter or a member of the NRA,” Kimmel said. “Do you really think these kids, these teenagers, who spoke out after a shooting at their school are actors who are part of some kind of deep state, left-wing conspiracy? If the answer is, ‘Yes, I do believe that,’ I have some bad news for you. You’re crazy. You’re a crazy person. Your brain is not functioning and I’m worried about you.”
Kimmel also touched on President Donald Trump’s listening session with victims of the Parkland shooting, during which he was photographed holding a notecard with talking points like, “I hear you.” “We know Trump didn’t write that himself because he spelled the word ‘Hear’ correctly,” Kimmel cracked. “But a quick way to know you’re not a good listener is if you need a note to tell you to listen at a listening session.”