A US principal has been left red-faced after his speech at a graduation event was shown to have plagiarized Ashton Kutcher’s Teen Choice Awards speech from 2013.
Kenny DeMoss from Parkersburg High School in West Virginia gave the address on May 23, and graduate Abby Smith thought maybe she’d heard it all before.
After a cursory search, she found she had indeed heard the speech before and made a video splicing Kutcher’s speech with DeMoss’, showing swathes of it were identical.
Some students have suggested that as well as the Dude Where’s My Car? actor being an unlikely source of inspiration for a high-school principal, DeMoss even lifted personal anecdotes from Kutcher’s life and ascribed them to his own.
DeMoss sent an audio message to parents and posted a statement on the school’s Facebook page. DeMoss apologized for any offence but didn’t seem to apologize for the plagiarism, putting it down to an innocent mistake.
“As a proud father and a man of faith, I want to sincerely apologize to those I have obviously offended,” DeMoss said in the message. He went further to say that the opening of his speech was intended as a disclaimer to “preface that these ideas and thoughts that I am about to share, I have heard before, from others, and along with my personal beliefs, have shaped me into who I am as a man, a father, and leader.”
In the now deleted message, DeMoss cited his credentials writing, “intriguing was completely my word. Trying to be intriguing has helped me pursue and obtain three masters degrees. I believe being really smart is the most interesting thing about a person. I’ve learned that as a principal and a coach.”