George Washington University Professor Jessica Krug revealed that she falsely claimed to be Black. In a Medium essay Friday, Krug said she is really White and Jewish, and grew up in suburban Kansas City. She called herself a "culture leech" and admitted to building her life "on a violent anti-Black lie."
During her adult life, Krug said she claimed to have North African and Caribbean heritage at different points. She "had absolutely no right to do so" and wrote that what she did was "the very epitome of violence, of thievery and appropriation, of the myriad ways in which non-Black people continue to use and abuse Black identities and cultures." Krug said she has been battling "some unaddressed mental health demons" her entire life, but this could "never, will never, neither explain nor justify, neither condone nor excuse, that, in spite of knowing and regularly critiquing any and every non-Black person who appropriates from Black people, my false identity was crafted entirely from the fabric of Black lives."
Krug said she did not live a "double life" and "lived this lie, fully, completely, with no exit plan or strategy." It was the only life she built, "a life within which I have operated with a radical sense of ethics, of right and wrong, and with rage, rooted in Black power, an ideology which every person should support, but to which I have no possible claim as my own."
In the essay, Kurg said she should "absolutely be canceled" and she "lied in every breath I have taken." She also asked people who supported her in the past not to doubt themselves. "I was audaciously deceptive," Krug wrote. "I have a very clear, loud conscience, but I have acted as if I had none. I gaslit you. I begged for your compassion and love for my isolation and loneliness — real and raw feelings, but borne of the avalanche of deceit."
According to Krug's George Washington University profile, she earned a Ph. D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012 and is a historian of "politics, ideas, and cultural practices in Africa and the African Diaspora, with a particular interest in West Central Africa and maroon societies in the early modern period and Black transnational cultural studies." She was also a finalist for the Harriet Tubman and Fredrick Douglass book prizes, reports CBS News. A university spokesperson told CBS News they are working on a response.
Hari Ziyad, a Black author and screenwriter, claimed Krug only came forward because she was about to be found out. In his tweets, Ziyad apologized for supporting Krug's work in the past. "I kept her at arm's length, but still close enough that she could harm Black people around me. I owe so many people apologies," he wrote. "I apologize to all the Black people I allowed her to say and do wild shit to because they weren't from New York or from 'the hood' as she claimed to be."