It’s graduation season, which means the internet is being flooded with inspiring videos of students and teachers giving emotional speeches about their experiences in the world.
One speech, however, given by Parkersburg High School principal Kenny DeMoss, is being noticed for all the wrong reasons.
DeMoss gave an inspiring speech about finding success in the modern world. Unfortunately, many students in the crowd realized they’d heard it before…
…when Ashton Kutcher won a 2013 Teen Choice Award.
Abby Smith, who graduated with the class of 2019, heard about the two speeches similarity from her friends. They recognized many of DeMoss’s messages as being taken almost verbatim from Kutcher’s speech when he accepted the “ultimate choice award.”
When she arrived home and watched the two clips side-by-side, Smith was shocked to see just how alike the pair were. She edited together a comparison video showing bits of her principal’s speech immediately followed by Kutcher’s original.
Since being uploaded, it has been viewed over 176k times.
Even Kutcher heard about the rip-off and called it out on Twitter.
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”- Oscar Wilde. * cite your sources kids and faculty😊
— ashton kutcher (@aplusk) June 8, 2019
DeMoss would later claim he meant to “preface that these ideas and thoughts that I am about to share, I have heard before, from others.”
But after his plagiarism became apparent, he issued a statement saying:
“As a proud father and a man of faith, I want to sincerely apologize to those I have obviously offended. It was never my intent to take credit for what I said or give specific credit because of how I prefaced my speech.”
Smith, however, told the News and Sentinel that this apology isn’t quite enough:
“I didn’t see it as an apology, but as a deflection, which is all too common in our public discourse. I think that Mr. DeMoss holds a position of authority and leadership in Parkersburg High. If I am held to a high standard, I believe that my administrators and faculty should also be held to the same standard.”
DeMoss’ apology didn’t seem to sway Twitter very much either…
If you're gonna steal, steal from the best.
— Love and Anger (@LoveandAnger) June 12, 2019
I mean plagiarism is plagiarism, I’m sure that principle has hit students for it in the past so…
— Mercutiosminiskirt (@DocB83) June 12, 2019
Dude, where is your integrity?
— gdanderson (@gdanderson) June 12, 2019
People weren’t buying that the principal “accidentally” stole a whole speech.
Now it makes sense why at the end of the speech he invited the Jonas Brothers on stage.
— JMichael (@JMichaelMaIone) June 12, 2019
No such thing as 'accidental'. Plagiarism is only plagiarism when it's done intentionally.
— NottaDr (@WeyezOD) June 1, 2019
There’s nothing more embarrassing than a grown man revealing he’s a huge fan of the Teen Choice Awards.
I can think of few things more embarrassing.
— Erin Altman (@AltmanErin) June 1, 2019
A real model for students!
— Joan Randall (@JoanRan70734265) June 1, 2019
“thoughts and ideas were from my heart” 😂😂😂
— PipaySG (@PipaySG) June 2, 2019
On the other hand, a good speech is a good speech.
Brilliant original speech. Should be standard reading.
— alexwill (@irepaymydebts) June 12, 2019
The superintendent from Woods County Schools confirmed that an investigation is being launched into DeMoss’ conduct.
The principal was suspended without pay until the matter is resolved.
One does not “accidentally” plagiarize.
— Grady Booch (@Grady_Booch) June 1, 2019
It’s its own punishment.
— Adam Brodsky M🍑🍊💩❗️ (@adambrodsky) June 1, 2019