West Virginia principal accused of plagiarizing Ashton Kutcher speech

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Dude, where’s your originality?

A West Virginia principal has been accused of swiping a recent graduation speech from Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher.

Kenny DeMoss, the principal of Parkesburg High School, was accused earlier this week of plagiarizing parts of a speech Kutcher gave during the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards in 2013.

Abby Smith, who graduated from Parkersburg on May 23, posted a video on social media splicing together DeMoss’ graduation speech with one given by the “That 70’s Show” actor. The video has since amassed more than 100,000 views.

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The two speeches use similar phrases and wording throughout, and, while parts of DeMoss’ speech differ from Kutcher’s, other sections are word-for-word, the News and Sentinel reported.

On Wednesday, DeMoss said he didn’t mean to use someone else’s work.

“As a proud father and a man of faith, I want to sincerely apologize to those I have obviously offended,” he said in a message posted on the school’s Facebook page, according to the newspaper. “It was never my intent to take credit for what I said or give specific credit because of how I prefaced my speech.”

He said he should have cited his sources in the May 23 speech, but asserted the “thoughts and ideas” were his own.

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DeMoss said he is upset the speech has stolen the focus from graduating students and their accomplishments.

“When I began my closing remarks at graduation, I didn’t think that my speech would be the center of attention. The graduates should be,” he said in his statement. “It is really sad to think that the focus has fallen more on about my closing remarks and I am deeply sorry for that.”

The statement has since been deleted from the school’s Facebook page.

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Wood County Schools Superintendent Will Hosaflook told the News and Sentinel that it was a personnel matter that was being investigated.



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