A school principal in West Virginia allegedly plagiarized Ashton Kutcher during his graduation speech on May 23, however the move went largely unnoticed until one student published side-by-side comparisons of her principal's performance and the actor's 2013 Teen Choice Awards speech.
Abby Smith, a graduate of Parkersburg High School, noticed that Principal Kenny DeMoss' address sounded vaguely familiar. After doing a bit of research, and speaking with fellow classmates, Smith realized she had heard the remarks before, and took to Facebook to expose her principal. “Here is my principal, plagiarizing his entire graduation speech,” she captioned the post.
While some of DeMoss' comments in the address seem like they could coincide with Kutcher's remarks by happenstance, for example, his declaration that “I believe that opportunity looks a lot like hard work," others leave less room for speculation.
The principal formatted his speech exactly as the That '70s Show actor did, outlining the performance by discussing the "three things" that allowed for his upward mobility. DeMoss told the school's graduating class, "The first thing is about opportunity, the second thing is about being intriguing, and the third thing is about living life." Years prior, Kutcher said at the televised event, "The first thing is about opportunity, the second thing is about being sexy, and the third thing is about living life."
In one of his statements, DeMoss claims that earlier in his life, he secured a job "carrying shingles up and down a ladder to a roof." Coincidentally, or not so much, Kutcher also told the Teen Choice Awards audience that was one of his first jobs involved, "carrying shingles up to the roof."
The school principal issued an apology to parents after word of his plagiarism circulated. In a statement obtained by The Parkersburg News and Sentinel, DeMoss claims he failed to cite his sources. "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. “It was never my intent to take credit for what I said or give specific credit because of how I prefaced my speech.”
He continues by claiming that because he opened his speech with references to, “many great ideas and thoughts that have helped me be who I am today,” he was somehow citing the remarks he then delivered.
Smith told the paper that she isn't satisfied with DeMoss' statement, and believes he could have done more to apologize. You can view her comparison video above.