Throughout history, plagiarism has always been present, but never more so than in the current digital age. Where the internet is filled to the brim with content, with more being posted each and every day, it can be difficult to truly know whether what you are reading is original content. However, while most plagiarism cases are dealt with easily or float under the radar, there are some higher profile cases that certainly haven’t had that benefit! From the likes of Amy Schumer, to Melania Trump and even The New York Daily News, the following certainly could’ve done with a plagiarism checker! Without further ado, here are the five biggest plagiarism scandals of recent years.
The New York Daily News
The New York Daily News case was one that taught editors and writers across the globe a valuable lesson – keep drafts, notes, and ensure you save any relevant emails! They might not seem like much once the piece is done and ready to go, but you never know just when it might prove useful.
On April 19th 2016, journalist Shaun King had an article published that readers noticed was very similar to one published much earlier by The Daily Beast. Of course, this was immediately accused of being plagiarised, but there was an unexpected twist to come! King took to twitter after the accusations with evidence of timestamped emails that contained his original submission, and it turned out it was in fact an editorial issue! Jotham Sederstrom edited out the attribution that had been put into the piece before it went online! As a result, he was fired for the mistake.
Many of us known Joe Biden as the much-loved vice president to Barack Obama, but long before he filled that role, Biden tried his own hand at the top spot. In 1987, Biden was running his presidential campaign but it was swiftly cut short when the accusations of plagiarism came rolling in. It soon surfaced that Biden had stolen a speech from a British politician by the name of Neil Kinnock. Soon after his academic work came under fire for plagiarism also. His withdrawal from the presidential race was, of course, announced soon after.
Laughter is a language that every person can speak, and jokes are often a great way of spreading said laughter around – well, if they don’t receive a groan instead! But in 2016, Amy Schumer came under fire when she was accused of plagiarising the jokes she was using in her stand-up performances. Tammy Pescatelli, Kathleen Madigan and Wendy Liebman all claimed that Schumer had ‘stolen’ their jokes and passed them off as her own without firing a single thank you in their direction. This story didn’t come to any conclusion, however, as Schumer only denied the claims, and it wasn’t taken any further.
While this one might not be the tip of the ice-burg when it comes to thinking about the most words plagiarised, it certainly does for one of the worst possible places to do it. Also taking place in 2016, Melania Trump’s plagiarism scandal came about when she took to the stage to give a speech on the President’s behalf at the Republican National Convention. However, as great as the speech may have appeared to some, it pricked the ears of Obama fans, who quickly realised that Melania’s speech sounded strangely similar to Michelle Obama’s speech that was given in 2008 at the Democratic National Convention. Melania’s speech writer was blamed, and while she apologised and went on to try and resign, Trump refused to accept it anyway.
1997 brought about Putin’s turn to face public criticism following accusations of plagiarism. Putin’s 1996 dissertation titled ‘Strategic Planning of Mineral Resources Replenishment at a Regional Level in Market Economy’ fell under scrutiny when it appeared to bear unavoidable resemblance to a book written by William Kind and David Cleland’s book ‘Strategic Planning and Policy’. Granted, no one’s approached Putin to question it directly, but the accusations have been made all the same.