Ted Nugent, a veteran rock musician and a board member of the National Rifle Association, has claimed the student survivors of the Parkland shooting are pathetic liars “with no soul”.

Speaking on a conservative talk show hosted by Joe Pagliarulo, Nugent claimed the students who have been pushing for reform of the US’s gun laws and who helped inspire rallies across the nation last weekend, were “mushy brained children who have been fed lies”.

“The level of ignorance goes beyond stupidity. Again, the National Rifle Association are a bunch of American families who have a voice to stand up for our God-given constitutionally-guaranteed right to keep and bear arms,” said Nugent, 69, a long-time conservative who supported Donald Trump’s run for the presidency.

“The dumbing down of America is manifested in the culture deprivation of our academia that have taught these kids the lies, media that have prodded and encouraged and provided these kids lies. I really feel sorry for them because it’s not only ignorant and dangerously stupid, but it’s soulless.”

Nugent, who has served as a board member for more than a decade, added: “These poor children, I’m afraid to say this and it hurts me to say this, but the evidence is irrefutable, they have no soul.”

Since the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, near Fort Lauderdale, that killed 17 students and staff and injured more than a dozen, students such as David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez have earned widespread praise for their eloquent and impassioned demand that politicians act to prevent such incidents and do more to regulate guns.

At the same time, they have infuriated many on the right. This week, Fox News show host Laura Ingraham announced she is taking next week off, after almost a dozen advertisers dropped her show after the conservative pundit mocked a teenage survivor of the Florida school massacre on Twitter.

Eleven companies so far have pulled their ads after a pushback by Parkland student Mr Hogg, 17, who called for a boycott of her advertisers.

The teenager took aim at the host’s show, The Ingraham Angle, after she taunted him on Twitter on Wednesday, accusing him of complaining about being rejected by four colleges to which he had applied.

The student tweeted a list of a dozen companies that advertise on The Ingraham Angle and urged his supporters to demand that they cancel their ads.

On Thursday, Ms Ingraham tweeted an apology “in the spirit of holy week,” saying she was sorry for any hurt or upset she had caused the teenager or any of the “brave victims” of Parkland.

There has been no comment from the NRA about Mr Nugent’s comments which were broadcast on Friday evening and first reported by Media Matters.