Letter

Dear WHUR and Richard Montgomery, Stop Stealing Content From Me and Others

Last week, I wrote about the Fire and Fainting Challenge that is all the rave with some of the teens of America now for my column at The Grio. I posted my week’s writing recap here and this morning, someone commented telling me they searched for the fainting game on Google and ran across an article that sounded really close to mine.

I click the link and end up on WHUR FM’s website and I read it with fumes coming out my ears. I was at home like this:

flips desk 3 gif

WHUR is Howard University’s radio station, and their “writer” named Richard Montgomery had basically copied and pasted entire paragraphs from my piece, posted it with few of his and TADA!!! Insta-post.

So I am here to write a very deserved sternly-worded letter (it’s been a while) to the staff at WHUR and to Richard Montgomery himself.

Dear WHUR,

You have failed successfully at your job and you have failed at journalism. Hell, you have failed at blogging and you have failed at everything you are supposed to do: provide original content.

First of all, the simple lesson of “don’t take what is not yours” seems to have missed you. Did you skip that week in Kindergarten when you had chicken pox? Did you miss Dora the Explorer’s “Swiper no swiping” warnings? What happened?

What is fascinating is how blatant and bold the plagiarism on this site was. It’s like journalistic ethics called off for work and quit the week after it came back from vacation. Richard’s plagiarism was so flagrant and ballsy that I had to ask myself when my check from WHUR was coming. Surely, the gods of PayPal and Google Wallet were going to descend upon me and bless me with some offerings. But nay.

WHUR Stealing

Pic by @NickiMayoNews

My words were taken and money was out of my pocket as a result. Why? Because people search for what I wrote and the post from the word klepto you’ve employed might come up higher. They’re profiting off the pageviews that came from words that wasn’t from them. Writers write. This is our bread, butter and jam. So taking a writer’s words without credit is to steal from our mouths. I got shoes to buy, people!

Richard Montgomery swiped my words (more than once. He also used paragraphs from a post I wrote about Jamal Bryant) but he stole from others too. My readers (who I love), found that he’s also taken from places like Forbes and Huffington Post. Does the dude know how to write anything original besides his name? Judging from what I see, he is unable to original. He is pioneer-deficient. He probably drinks Diet Coke because he doesn’t like the taste of the original one.

shade gif

AND HE SHOULD KNOW BETTER! Richard “The Etymology Embezzler” Montgomery is not some 18-year old freshman intern who slipped up. He is a liar and a cheat grown man who has worked for WHUR for over 2 decades (according to LinkedIn). Even if he wasn’t working as a journalist, apparently, he was a brand manager. How do you manage brands without knowing about Intellectual Property rights and laws? He’s too grown to not know better so why isn’t he doing better? My guess is because he doesn’t feel that he needs to. Not for WHUR, anyway.

Folks dug even deeper and found that MANY posts on WHUR’s website (even those not written by Montgomery the Word Mugger) were stolen from elsewhere (sometimes in full) with no attribution. WHUR’s website is full of swindle, with no linkbacks, no “here’s where it’s from.” For SHAME!

When I raised hell about my post being plagiarized on Twitter, you quietly “fixed” it by appending an intro paragraph to the piece that mentioned my name, and a lazy link at the bottom talmbout from “TheGriot” (because who needs to spell the name of the publication right?). No official retraction, no apology and no direct contact to me. That’s not how this goes!

failure gif

WHUR, you should be embarrassed. You are attached to an institution of higher learning. If you can’t do better, who can?

As a media company, you should not tolerate plagiarism. But it seems not only do you let it slide, you might even encourage it because your site is littered with content taken from elsewhere. This is bigger than Richard the Word Bandit. This is about WHUR creating a space where employees feel comfortable about being wrong and STRONG in their duties. This is about the attitude that plagiarizing is ok as long as you get away with it. This is about the disrespect of others’ ideas, work and intellectual property. This is about WHUR hosting stolen content so they’re aiding and abedding the perpetuation of bullshit practices that some want to call journalism.

WHUR is not the only one on the hook here. This message is to everyone. BuzzFeed just fired one of their editors for plagiarism. Folks outchea thinking it’s a game. You can’t be Milli Vanilling this words thing!

Keep it real gif

There are very few things that grind my gears as much as the theft of intellectual property. I wrote a post on my tech blog on a Guide to Intellectual Property, Copyrights and Trademarks for Blogs, Businesses and Brands 2 weeks ago. Read that.

What I want? An apology from WHURfm and promise to never use my words on their site. I don’t even want them to quote me (because I’m petty). And a promise to stop copying and pasting words from all over the web without proper attribution. This isn’t just about MY words. This is a pattern that needs to stop, and even if they didn’t know their writers were plagiarizing like non-champs, now that they know, what will they do about it? Richard Montgomery himself owes me an apology for being a fraudulent twerp.

If people keep doing things like this, they should know that their road to prosperity will be littered by the edges we snatch off them.

Porsha snatch

In summary: KNOW BETTER and DO BETTER! It doesn’t cost you to give props to people. Your internet bill doesn’t go up because you say “Here’s where I got this from.” Your blood pressure won’t be affected from paying #AMISH. Get it ALL the way together!

Imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery. It is the inability to be original and it is disrespectful and cowardly. I am never flattered by people who steal my words because people steal trash too. I want it to stop.

Update: WHUR has taken down the post on the Fire and Fainting challenge but they still have others up that are plagiarized. Basically, they put a bandaid on the knee of someone with a broken leg. Mind you, they still haven’t contacted ME. Aight. 

Update #2 at 7:50pm 8/4/14: Richard Montgomery apologized to me on Twitter. Meanwhile, WHUR itself has been mute.

Update #3 at 10:30am 8/5/14: WHUR’s General Manager (Jim Watkins) sent me an email apology. Also, all of Richard’s posts have been removed from the website.

54 Comments

  1. August 4, 2014 at 3:40 pm — Reply

    Is this something you could sue over?

  2. August 4, 2014 at 3:44 pm — Reply

    Hmmm, I see a Twitter “request” from your readers to WHUR. Maybe with the hashtag #apologize. Gurl, I want to say I can’t believe it but these days, I’m not surprised.

    • August 4, 2014 at 4:58 pm — Reply

      Hmmmm…I’m thinking that’s a good idea. Luvvie gives the order and her entire Goon Squad will have the mentions of @WHURfm in worse shambles than the 90s Bad Boy Records careers.

  3. Troublemaker Supreme
    August 4, 2014 at 3:46 pm — Reply

    Isn’t there someone you can contact above them, like within the University’s Communication department (or whoever oversees the radio station)? This is one of those deals where the continued acts of plagiarism needs to be addressed by the powers-that-be. After that many infractions, removing to the post or a simple apology isn’t enough. I can’t even begin to imagine how deep this goes…
    Sorry, but I work with college freshman and plagiarism irks me, down to my very last nerve. These grown ass people should know better.

    • Prettydarkskinnedgirl
      August 4, 2014 at 3:54 pm — Reply

      What about your reserve nerve? I stole that from another Luvvie commenter but I told her I was going to & I’m giving her attribution (kinda)!

  4. August 4, 2014 at 3:52 pm — Reply

    I went to the posts and saw the blatant hijacking of your intellectual property. Writers usually get fired over plagiarism and he should know better, so what is his hold up? If there is any consolation for you, is that the post they removed was full of comments on how the writer was trash for stealing your work. But I agree – WHUR has not done nearly enough, and I think anyone who has done any writing on a blog should go check out WHUR and scan the blogs to see if their work was stolen as well.

  5. PierParks
    August 4, 2014 at 3:52 pm — Reply

    Richard Montgomery should know better!! Its 2014 between google and all the other tools/apps people use. You will get caught plagiarizing.

  6. Prettydarkskinnedgirl
    August 4, 2014 at 3:52 pm — Reply

    But it IS ok if we, your respectful readers, keep stealing your words in the comments section ain’t it? Because, you know, reasons…lol

    • August 4, 2014 at 4:05 pm — Reply

      LOLLL! Of course!

    • NikiF
      August 4, 2014 at 4:09 pm — Reply

      ^^^THIS! I was thinking the same thing! :)

    • Monica Hill
      August 4, 2014 at 6:33 pm — Reply

      ^^^I was thinking the same thing because I was about to #fixitJesus #UnabletoCanICan’t with the blatant plagiarism.

  7. August 4, 2014 at 3:53 pm — Reply

    Well Said. Let me know if you want the Goons to pay him a visit.

  8. Sheletha
    August 4, 2014 at 3:55 pm — Reply

    Swagger Jackin!!!!!

  9. August 4, 2014 at 3:56 pm — Reply

    This shameful, and I feel like you are being too nice in this post – although any day that I get to read the phrase “failed successfully” is a good day in my book.

    I hope someone over at WHUR develops a conscience and a backbone and does right by you. Have you contacted your lawyer about this?

    Girl you ought to sic Black Twitter on him if you haven’t already. You know Twitter folks live for beef and they must be tired of talking about Beyonce and Nikki Minaj by now.

    • August 4, 2014 at 5:05 pm — Reply

      I got no problems getting Latino Twitter in on this ishhh too. You thought The BeyHive was crazy, they don’t know the Luvvie Stans then.

      • Yonna
        August 4, 2014 at 5:47 pm — Reply

        Un aplauso!

      • August 4, 2014 at 9:12 pm — Reply

        Let ‘em know Yanira!! Those fools won’t know what hit them by the time we swarm them on Twitter. Blatantly stealing from hard working folks who out here braving all this ratchetry and foolishment for our entertainment purposes.

  10. Butterpillar
    August 4, 2014 at 4:06 pm — Reply

    That would never fly at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism at Hampton University. I remember, waaaaay back in the day, professors would check your sources behind you to make sure you maintained journalistic integrity. I say you contact the head of the journalism department, the president of the university, and ask for the name of their head legal counsel. Who does this??? Other than Richard Whatchamajigit, that is. In YOUR words… I am UNABLE TO CAN!! SMH

    • Babygladiator
      August 4, 2014 at 4:22 pm — Reply

      Butterpillar, I believe that Richard Montgomery is a graduate of Hampton’s school of journalism. This is an indictment on the morals of the man, because clearly he didn’t take heed to the school’s code of conduct!!!

      • PhDiva08
        August 4, 2014 at 8:58 pm — Reply

        Just checked this dudes Linkedin page and it looks like he got his degree in Architecture in the 70’s…definitely not a product of the Scripps Howard program. Regardless,I’m still ashamed that he graduated from my home by the sea! Can we retroactively kick him out by 5?

        • Butterpillar
          August 5, 2014 at 5:32 pm — Reply

          Well, ya know how it goes. Can’t always choose “family”. LOL

      • Butterpillar
        August 5, 2014 at 5:33 pm — Reply

        Nope! Architecture. Though he can’t seem to build his own paragraph. Hmph!

  11. Danlami G
    August 4, 2014 at 4:13 pm — Reply

    Biko.No vex! It was the devil that tempted him (several times)..hahaha

  12. For These Reasons
    August 4, 2014 at 4:15 pm — Reply

    …Um…isn’t there a whole little section dedicated to “Thou Shalt Not Plagiarize” in the school’s Code of Conduct? I feel like all of schools (HBCU, traditional, community college) had serious consequences and reperucussions for stealing the work of others. How can Howard NOT do something about their own school radio station?? A CC: or a FWD: is in order.

    PS: The Etymology Embezzler…that’s my favorite.

  13. Titilayo
    August 4, 2014 at 4:22 pm — Reply

    Wow. This sucks. Pele. I dont know how much HU can do, but I’ll try to make some calls or knock on some doors in the School of C.

  14. August 4, 2014 at 4:50 pm — Reply

    This letter is everything! !!!

  15. Kim
    August 4, 2014 at 5:22 pm — Reply

    Lazy.org

  16. August 4, 2014 at 6:36 pm — Reply

    Lol I just started the hashtag #luvviewasrobbed. This is some B.S.

  17. August 4, 2014 at 7:11 pm — Reply

    That’s awfully adult of you, but I would at least want a public acknowledgement and an apology…

  18. ershipp
    August 4, 2014 at 7:20 pm — Reply

    Well said! I will have my students read this when we discuss ethics and plagiarism in the journalism classes I teach at Morgan State University.

  19. August 4, 2014 at 7:41 pm — Reply

    I just tried to post a nasty comment on that article and it isn’t there anymore. I wonder how many more articles over there need to be deleted…

  20. kimmie
    August 4, 2014 at 8:37 pm — Reply

    Everybody posting should go to their fb page and post there too!

  21. SoulQueen007
    August 4, 2014 at 9:33 pm — Reply

    Richard Montgomery is unemployed he just doesn’t know it yet. LOL

    Hide ya nouns…hide ya verbs cause Richard is swiping everything out chea.

    • Gayle
      August 5, 2014 at 12:47 am — Reply

      hide ya nouns….hide ya verbs…….love it!!!!!!1

  22. […] the Awesomely Luvvie FB page | The post Dear WHUR and Richard Montgomery, Stop Stealing Content From Me and Others appeared first on Awesomely […]

  23. RavenJ
    August 4, 2014 at 9:57 pm — Reply

    Years ago I had a little blog on blogger. I was so excited to have a blog and to mix it up with other creative types. After a few months I noticed another blogger that would comment on my posts would turn around and post the same exact topic that I had just posted. At times there would be little difference in the sentence flow, presentation of ideas, and then there would be times where the words were exactly the same. At first I thought I was being dramatic so I had a friend check out some of the blogger’s posts and my friend confirmed my suspicions. I was so bummed I just shut it down, but I do think you should fight this. Make a big deal. You have every right to be angry. You have a way with words…don’t allow someone else to cash in on your brilliance.

  24. August 5, 2014 at 2:17 am — Reply

    WHUR is walking distance from my place. If you need me to pay them a visit, let me know.

    Actually…nevermind. I’m too adorable to go to prison. They’d pass me around like a blunt.

    So yeah, I’m not going to kick ass on your behalf, but I’ll do whatever I can to spread the word that Richard Montgomery and WHUR regularly steal people’s content. Trust me, as a comic, I have even less patience now for people who steal the work of others than I did when I was blogging every day.

  25. August 5, 2014 at 2:26 am — Reply

    By the way, this is already the #1 entry when you Google “Richard Montgomery WHUR.” It’s going to be funny when employers search for his name once he starts looking for a new job!

  26. MrsWrite
    August 5, 2014 at 8:51 am — Reply

    BRAVO!

  27. Chele
    August 5, 2014 at 12:27 pm — Reply

    HAHAHAHA

    Justice is beginning to be served. I just googled “Richard Montgomery WHUR” and Luvvie’s letter is the #1 entry. If you cheat, if you steal, you get whatever karma decides to bring your way. Right now, karma is brining poor Richard a big bag of FAILURE and humiliation that he fully deserves. He and WHUR are theives.
    Word snatchin’ heathens. I have the feeling that if they didn’t steal content from others,all their articles would be along the lines of: What Happen? Why It Happen?

  28. Kawanis
    August 5, 2014 at 1:44 pm — Reply

    I was giving WHUR the side eye before even reading this. I was quite offended that they allowed a listener not too long ago to go on a verbal rant about Michael Sam and how he kissed his man on TV. Yes, I understand that everyone has their opinions, but they let that guy go on a little too long for my liking. Now, I’m over it. Congrats WHUR. You just lost a listener.

  29. HUgrad
    August 5, 2014 at 6:08 pm — Reply

    I love Howard. I went to Howard. I am an alum of Howard. After I worked there for two years, I now hate Howard and don’t trust them negroes with sh*t!

    If I were in your shoes I would be out for blood…or at least Richard’s job, and any other job he even applies for in the field of journalism. Make everything he even thinks about be a failure…

  30. […] “Last week, I wrote about the Fire and Fainting Challenge that is all the rave with some of the teens… now for my column at The Grio,” wrote Luvvie Ajayi, a Grio contributor who describes herself as “a serial ranter and blogger.” “I posted my week’s writing recap here and this morning, someone commented telling me they searched for the fainting game on Google and ran across an article that sounded really close to mine. […]

  31. […] “Last week, I wrote about the Fire and Fainting Challenge that is all the rave with some of the teens… now for my column at The Grio,” wrote Luvvie Ajayi, a Grio contributor who describes herself as “a serial ranter and blogger.” “I posted my week’s writing recap here and this morning, someone commented telling me they searched for the fainting game on Google and ran across an article that sounded really close to mine. […]

  32. […] “Last week, I wrote about the Fire and Fainting Challenge that is all the rave with some of the teens… now for my column at The Grio,” wrote Luvvie Ajayi, a Grio contributor who describes herself as “a serial ranter and blogger.” “I posted my week’s writing recap here and this morning, someone commented telling me they searched for the fainting game on Google and ran across an article that sounded really close to mine. […]

  33. […] “Last week, I wrote about the Fire and Fainting Challenge that is all the rave with some of the teens… now for my column at The Grio,” wrote Luvvie Ajayi, a Grio contributor who describes herself as “a serial ranter and blogger.” “I posted my week’s writing recap here and this morning, someone commented telling me they searched for the fainting game on Google and ran across an article that sounded really close to mine. […]

  34. dmaclee
    August 5, 2014 at 9:59 pm — Reply

    I live in DC. Anacostia to be exact. I am about 2 1/2 degrees of separation from some real ratchet individuals. And one of those BuzzFeed quizzes said that I am most like Huck from Gladiator. What do you want me to do?

    • T
      August 6, 2014 at 5:38 am — Reply

      HAAAAAAAAAA! This! #LuvviesGladiatorsAreReal

  35. MsLeeLee
    August 7, 2014 at 11:34 am — Reply

    Get em’!!!!!!!

  36. mz.niecy
    August 7, 2014 at 1:10 pm — Reply

    Luvvie’s Goon #Rhett to attack!!! Don’t be stealing our Luvvie’s hard work. That’s like going in my closet, taking my #alphet and saying it’s been yours all along…no Sir/Ma’am Mr. Richard…Glad they at least put on the big boy undies and “fixed” this…*c walks away* they don’t know who they messing with…

  37. Michelle
    August 7, 2014 at 4:45 pm — Reply

    I was so proud of you for standing up for yourself, your words, your intellectual property.
    You didn’t quietly call them and say “excuse me sir”..you put them on blast-so that everyone out there can learn a lesson or two.
    It makes my heart beat a little faster and happier when a woman gets up, STANDS UP, and says wait a gosh darn second here! You did me wrong!!
    You Go Luvvie..it’s a good lesson for all of us-the internet can be a sneaky ugly place and we got to keep an eye on our stuff at all times!

  38. deprogrammed
    August 11, 2014 at 2:03 pm — Reply

    I’m am so pleased and proud you didn’t just let it slide. Brava!

  39. August 12, 2014 at 4:44 am — Reply

    GOOD! Stand up for yourself girl. This issue continues to get bigger and bigger, especially in the blogging around! I loved the Diet Coke line– keep it 100% and original girl! Love your stuff!

  40. Biglilkim
    August 16, 2014 at 12:02 pm — Reply

    Yes, to everything about this stern letter!!!! Admire your tenacity!!!!

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