A high schooler called out her principal for allegedly plagiarizing Ashton Kutcher in commencement speech

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  • A West Virginia high schooler called out her principal for appearing to plagiarize a speech Ashton Kutcher gave in 2013.
  • Abby Smith posted a video on Facebook that compared the principal’s speech side-by-side with Kutcher’s, and there are some striking similarities.
  • Smith said the principal has blocked her on all social media platforms, but he said in a widely distributed statement that he had simply failed to fully cite his sources.
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A high schooler in West Virginia called out her school principal for plagiarizing Ashton Kutcher with his commencement speech.

Abby Smith posted on Facebook a video edited into a side-by-side comparison of Parkersburg High School Principal Kenny DeMoss’s May 23 speech with Kutcher’s speech at the 2013 Teen Choice Awards.

Both Kutcher and DeMoss said they wanted to discuss the “three things” they had learned in their work and life experiences, though the principal appeared to make some slight edits to Kutcher’s original comments.

“The first thing is about opportunity, the second thing is about being intriguing, and the third thing is about living life,” DeMoss said at the ceremony,

Kutcher said in 2013: “The first thing is about opportunity, the second thing is about being sexy, and the third thing is about living life.”

The striking comparisons raised eyebrows in the community, and DeMoss issued a statement to the local Parkersburg News and Sentinel, in which he said he realized he failed to cite his inspirations for the speech.

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

DeMoss added that the opening lines of the speech that Smith highlighted were just some of the “many great ideas and thoughts that have helped me be who I am today,” and were not intended to be his own comments, but citing his inspiration.

In a note on the video, Smith alleged that DeMoss blocked her on all social media platforms and employed a third-party to warn her she infringed on the copyright of the company that produced the graduation video, which she denies.

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