Georgia Tech Student's 'Epic Welcome Speech' Was Epically Plagiarized
Since it was uploaded to YouTube three days ago, Georgia Tech sophomore Nick Selby's "epic welcome speech" at this year's Freshman Convocation has gone on to rack up over 1 million views, and score rave reviews on many major news networks and websites including Gawker.
But, as with all good things, this too must come with a catch.
It seems Selby's over-the-top oratory to incoming students was lifted almost wholesale from a speech given by Arizona State University debate team champ Andy Stone in 2008 (skip to the 8:40 mark in the video above, and compare with the video below).
Some Internet sleuthing reveals that, back in 2006, Stone became Assistant Coach of the Speech, Theater and Debate Company at Desert Vista High School, which just so happened to count Selby as a member until his graduation last year.
Did Selby straight-up rip off a speech given by his former debate coach, and pass it off as his own? It would seem so.
An unverified Reddit account claiming to belong to the "Georgia Tech Social Media team" confirmed in a Georgia Tech subreddit thread questioning Selby's originality that the speech was indeed "inspired" by Stone, but insists that Selby "made no secret" of the source.
The Georgia Tech account goes on to claims that Selby even went so far as to call Stone and ask him for permission to use his speech.
Some Redditors were willing to cut Selby some slack either way, saying he probably didn't set out to go viral, but at least one noted that this revelation means that the speech is now "a slightly bit less epic."
UPDATE: A George Tech media relations rep just tweeted at me to reiterate the claim that Selby asked permission from Stone before helping himself to the speech. According to the rep, Selby will come clean in a Fox News interview this afternoon.
UPDATE 2: Selby addressed the "inspiration" for his speech on his personal Facebook page.