Principal who plagiarized Ashton Kutcher’s grad speech is suspended, actor responds with advice

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The West Virginia principal who plagiarized actor Ashton Kutcher in a graduation address has been suspended for five days without pay.

The Wood County Board of Education voted 4-1 to suspend Parkersburg High School Principal Kenny DeMoss on Tuesday, the Parkersburg News and Sentinel reported.

The decision coming after DeMoss “copied heavily” from Kutcher’s 2013 Nickelodeon Teen Choice Awards speech while addressing graduating seniors back in May.

For all the hoopla over the incident, Kushner did not appear to harbor any ill feelings in responding online, giving some friendly advice to all to “cite your sources.”

The actor tweeted: “‘Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.’- Oscar Wilde. * cite your sources kids and faculty.”

DeMoss read a prepared statement at the meeting, according to the newspaper.

“My intent in speaking tonight is to say I’m sorry,” the principal said. “I am a proud graduate of PHS, have coached for 25 years and have been an administrator for seven years in this community. I would never purposefully bring shame to myself, my family, my school, our school system, or our community. I made a mistake.”

Abby Smith, who just graduated from Parkersburg High School, posted a video on Facebook of DeMoss’ speech, juxtaposed with Kutcher’s 2013 speech — it has been viewed more than 163,000 times as of this writing.

Plagiarized Grad Speech

Here is my principal, plagiarizing his entire graduation speech.

Posted by Abby Smith on Tuesday, May 28, 2019

 

Responding to an earlier apology from DeMoss, Smith told 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.”

She also spoke about holding everyone to the same standard she was held to.

“I think that Mr. DeMoss holds a position of authority and leadership in Parkersburg High,” Smith said. “If I am held to a high standard, I believe that my administrators and faculty should also be held to the same standard.”

A popular theme in the responses seen on Twitter involved a “plot twist,” that being Kutcher showing up next year to personally deliver his speech:

Here’s a sampling of other responses from Twitter:

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