Professor Jessica Krug is under investigation by George Washington University after she admitted to pretending to be Black
Less than 24 hours after publishing a blog post admitting to having spent years pretending she was Black and latinx, George Washington University history professor Jessica A. Krug is reportedly being investigated by her employer, amidst an uproar over her longstanding effort to deceive others through — and apparently capitalize upon — an entirely fictional racial identity.
"We are aware of the post and are looking into the situation,” George Washington University spokesperson Crystal Nosal said in a statement to The New York Times shortly after Krug's brief essay "The Truth, and the Anti-Black Violence of My Lies" was published on Medium on Thursday morning.
“We cannot comment further on personnel matters," Nosal added.
On her GW staff profile page, Krug is listed as "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."
In a statement shared on Twitter, Race Baitr — a progressive publication focused on race and intersectionality for whom Krug had previously written using her assumed racial identity — apologized for having published her work, and pledged to create "small grants, at least in the amount totaling Jess’s payments for publication, to Black women."
While the exact circumstances leading up to Krug's admission are unclear, Race Baitr editor-in-chief Hari Ziyad suggested on Twitter that her Medium mea culpa was at least in part prompted by her having been "found out."
Several academics who spoke with the Times also posited that Krug's false identity had been under increased scrutiny by a number of her academic peers. And in an email from nearly a year ago shared on Twitter by NPR Code Switch co-host Gene Demby — who confirmed that the message was referring to Krug — she is described as "pulling a 'Rachel Dolezal,'" in reference to the NAACP president in Spokane, Washington, who later admitted that she was, in fact, a white woman.
"She is also quite brilliant, and doing important, good work," the email's anonymous author cautions at one point, seemingly highlighting Krug's academic contributions, such as her book Fugitive Modernities which, the Times reported, was a finalist for several high profile awards.
"Accountability works only when you are in community with people," Krug wrote in her Medium confession. "How can I be in any type of meaningful community with those whom I have so harmfully and horrifically deceived for so long?"