George Washington professor’s racial hoax claim stokes anger

George Washington University

George Washington University is investigating the case of a history professor who allegedly admitted to fraudulently pretending to be a Black woman for her entire career.

In a , a writer claiming to be Jessica Krug, a GW associate professor of history, writes that she is in fact a white Jewish woman from suburban Kansas City. The writer claims that she has lived most of her adult life “under various assumed identities within a Blackness that I had no right to claim: first North African Blackness, then US rooted Blackness, then Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness.”

Krug did not respond to a requeston her blog page for comment. The university declined to comment, but said in a tweet, “We are aware of the post by Jessica Krug and are looking into the situation. We cannot comment further on personnel matters.”

The blog post expresses deep remorse, calling the deception, “the very epitome of violence, of thievery and appropriation.”

The writer blames “unaddressed mental health demons” dating back to childhood and says she frequently thought of confessing the deception, “but my cowardice was always more powerful than my ethics.”

Krug’s biography on the GW website lists imperialism and colonialism and African-American history among her areas of expertise. Her writings center heavily on issues of African culture and diaspora.

The post caused an immediate furor on social media, with Black academics, writers and activists recalling their interactions with Krug.

Hari Ziyad, editor of the online publication RaceBatr, which had published Krug’s writings, that Krug had confirmed the details of the blog post to him in a phone call Thursday morning. He described Krug as “someone I called a friend up until this morning when she gave me a call admitting to everything written here.”

Ziyad wrote that the Krug claimed to be Afro-Caribbean from the Bronx. He said he had defended Krug in the past against suspicious colleagues. In retrospect, he recalls clues to the deception including her “clearly inexpert salsa dancing” and “awful New York accent.”

Krug’s public persona comes across in to a New York City Council hearing on gentrification from June. Referring to herself as Jess La Bombalera, Krug refers to “my Black and brown siblings” in the anti-gentrification movement and criticizes “all these white New Yorkers” who “did not yield their time to Black and brown indigenous New Yorkers.”

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