A West Virginia principal is accused of plagiarizing his graduation speech — by ripping off literary lion Ashton Kutcher.
Parkersburg High School principal Kenny DeMoss was called out by a graduate who recognized the administrator’s speech from the 2013 Nickelodeon Teen Choice Awards, the Parkersburg News and Sentinel reported.
Recent graduate Abby Smith, posted a Facebook video splicing her principal and the “That ’70s Show” actor’s speeches, which share the same format and use a lot of similar phrases.
Both speeches discuss the “three things” that led to their success.
Kutcher told the audience of screaming teens that “the first thing is about opportunity, the second thing is about being sexy, and the third thing is about living life.”
Parroting the actor, DeMoss tells the class of 2019: “The first thing is about opportunity, the second thing is about being intriguing, and the third thing is about living life.”
Each speech then went on to say: “So first, opportunity. I believe that opportunity looks a lot like hard work.”
Kutcher and the principal then listed their first jobs, each saying they always felt “lucky” to have a job — and never acted like they were better than the gig.
“I never quit my job until I had my next job,” each of them said.
The school administrator can also be heard cribbing the “Dude, Where’s My Car?” actor’s line urging teens to “be smart, be thoughtful, be generous.”
The video has since been watched more than 114,000 times since Smith posted the video Tuesday to Facebook.
Smith said she first learned of the two speeches’ similarities from classmates — but was “shocked” when she watched both of them after each other, according to the News and Sentinel.
“Many people agree that what he did was dishonest,” the 18-year-old graduate told the newspaper.
The principal has since apologized for his plagiarism at the ceremony — claiming he meant to “preface that these ideas and thoughts that I am about to share, I have heard before, from others.”
“As a proud father and a man of faith, I want to sincerely apologize to those I have obviously offended,” DeMoss said in the statement. “It was never my intent to take credit for what I said or give specific credit because of how I prefaced my speech.”
But Smith said she still believes that the principal hasn’t taken enough accountability, according to the News and Sentinel.
“I didn’t see it as an apology, but as a deflection, which is all too common in our public discourse,” Smith told the newspaper. “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.”
A superintendent for Woods County Schools declined to comment to the News and Sentinel, but confirmed an investigation was launched into the personnel matter.
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