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Why Terrell Mims: Plagiarist Doesn’t Get It

Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to be saturated in douche.  Terrell Mims has resurfaced.  Back in 2011Holy Taco helped out him as a word thief, a man building his reputation on lies and deceit, copying the work of other authors (from huge, well known websites) and passing it off as his own.  Read about it here!

And then read this!  This is the account by the author he claimed as his mentor Kristen Lamb.  I apologize to her if what I wrote cast her in a bad light, I never intended that.  If anything I tried to be a little sensational to draw attention to Terrell, but the blame is on him and no one else.  Kristen seems like a stand up person and she addressed the issue as necessary.

Ah, but Terrell.  Terrell Terrell Terrell.  He didn’t leave, did he?  No.  In fact, if you head to Twitter right now and look for AuthorCDeLaune you’ll find him. That’s his pseudonym.  Wednesday, after being exposed as Terrell Tuesday he has written a blog and is in full on “we all have a past, I want to be given a second chance” mode.  And that’s awesome, many people get second chances.  We give murderers second chances.  People do change.  It comes from within, someone once said.  But it happens.  I mean, it can.   But did it just now?

I published my piece on Mims October 12, 2011.  If you scroll back through the Twitter feed of CDeLaune you’ll discover him answer tweets sent @Terrellmims.  In fact, it’s the same twitter feed, he just changed the name later on.  In fact, here’s one right from October 12, 2011.

Pretty mundane, yes?  But you can see, it’s the same account.  Is that relevant?  Indeed.  This was the day the shit hit the fan.  This was the day Terrell was outed.

Within 2 days, you start seeing this;

Indeed, I may have helped spread the word to people I knew were associating with him.  His response?  He kept telling people to check their DMs.  What could he have been saying?  According to that blog by Kristen Lamb, he was telling everyone I was a troll.  He told them I was a liar.  Me.  Ian Fortey, former Cracked columnist, contributor to Break.com, Asylum.com, College Humor, Gunaxin, Funnycrave and many others.  My real, legit work has been viewed over 100 million times.  But now I was the troll and of course none of them knew how awesome I was.  And am (I’m awesome, by the way).

What happened next?

One unintentional spam Tweet after signing up for something, and then a return to Twitter 2 months later.  His blog deleted, the storm past.  Imagine if you follow someone on twitter who turns out to be a twat.  You either unfollow them immediately or ignore them.  If they return with a new name, you still follow them but, unless you’ve been actively checking up on the person in their absence, you’ll never know they switched names.  You’ll just have a new person in your list of people you follow. And on twitter, we follow hundreds of people.  Do you remember them all?  Especially if one seems to belong to a workshop you’re a part of?

Those who knew what Terrell had done assumed he vanished.  Those who didn’t never had a reason to wonder what happened because they never saw it.  Not unless they searched for Terrell by name and why would they if they had no idea what he’d done?  And when he came back, he was someone new.  Yesterday I insinuated everyone had forgiven him because I hadn’t even stopped to consider this.  He was pretending to be someone else.  I saw him hashtagging everything with the same tag used by his previous writer’s group and it looked like he was right back in.  But they didn’t know.  Just one guy did, one guy who caught on and emailed me and others about him.

Around Valentine’s day 2012 Terrell has a conversation with someone about why he’s using a new name.  This is his answer.

Real name tarnished because of “crazy” stuff.  Man, it was crazy, wasn’t it?  Loopy, even.  So from this point on, there was no Terrell Mims.  Just this Chris guy.  So how long, do you think, before he starts to be the same arrogant ass he used to be?  How long before the plagiarist who dared charge money for a writing workshop acts like a twat?

One month.  One month and Terrell is already easing into twat-like behavior.  You can’t criticize the ending to Mass Effect, Terrell.  You are the ending to Mass Effect.

Then this sad shit happens;

Maybe it’s because I’m predisposed to hating any and all non-ironic use of hastags or…wait, no, it’s because Terrell is a plagiarist and a thief.  He’s not an author.

But the cherry on Mims’ shit cake comes right here in June.

Do you know what that hashtag means?  That’s the hashtag used by the group of writers Mims was formerly a part of. Started by Kristen Lamb who, in her blog post regarding Mims, talks about how Mims seemed to have amazing writing skills and left feedback on par with her own, at the time not realizing he was poaching his blogs and the feedback he was giving was actually her own regurgitated.  These were the people he had been defrauding and using to gain his own cache.  A group of writers in various stages of their careers working together, looking to each other for insight, feedback and expertise, under the impression Terrell himself knew the difference between a gerund and Gerard Butler.  But he didn’t.  He made them all look foolish and embarrassed them thanks to his association.  And he came back, eight months later, pretending to be someone else.

Terrell never tells these people who he is and it’s clear from what happened when he was exposed, again, yesterday, they did not know.  He lied.  Again.  Wait, it gets better.

He actually gives a shout out to Kristen Lamb, the mentor whose name he had peppered all over his BS stolen blog and dragged through the mud.  This is like OJ sending a Christmas card to Ron Goldman’s parents.  Only, you know, with less hyperbole.

From here on out Mims is in full “I’m a writer” BS mode.  He drops the hashtag multiple times a day, tweets 140 character wisdom about the writing process and what it means to be a writer.  It’s insufferable.

But wait. It still gets better.

On Tuesday Terrell was outed again as not just Terrell, but a goddamn plagiarist.  Yes, he did it again.  He hijacked a post from Forbes.com.

He linked it, again, with the hashtag and someone from the group emailed me with the link to the Forbes article as well.  The two pieces were actually different, but Mims had used the headers and basically reworded the Forbes piece as his own.  He then quickly removed it from his site.

It was Mr. Donovan there who tipped me off and then gave the gears to Terrell who…did what?  Got defensive?  Can you do that?  Like, when you’re guilty, can you get pissy?

Good golly.  His first reaction is “prove they’re plagiarized” which Jay here does right away.  Then Terrell counters with “what about the others?”  Indeed.  I shot the sheriff but I did not shoot the deputy.

But wait.  It still gets better.  The shit hits the fan here and Kristen and the rest give Terrell his well earned shit and, instead of running like he did last time, Terrell tries a new strategy.  Own it.  That’s almost admirable.  Except, does he?

He calls stealing the Forbes piece a slip.  Like he’s a recovering alcoholic who had some nog at Christmas.  He says he messed up but don’t worry, watchful eyes are on him now and you can bet he won’t do it again.  And in the midst of a back and forth with some other writers, including one he plagiarized initially, he drops this off at the pool.

I never ripped off those I know.  I think I need a bullet form list for a sec.

  • If you change your identity and never mention it, you clearly had the intention of continuing to be deceitful
  • If you plagiarize again and post it as a link to the people in your writer’s forum, it’s not a slip, it’s an intentional act of fraud.  Again.
  • If you never ripped off the people you know, is Kristen Lamb lying about how your feedback mimicked hers?  Did anyone pay you for your workshop?  Did anyone come to you for advice or insight?
  • You defrauded everyone you huge, myopic douche nozzle.

Terrell Mims is living in a fantasy world that he didn’t construct.  He stole it from Terry Brooks who clearly stole it form Tolkien.  His current line of reasoning is that everyone makes mistakes, let’s move on, I’ll prove myself.  YOU DIDN’T PROVE YOURSELF!  I can’t believe he’s this dense.  He plagiarized again under a fake name.  Short of tying a black mask over his eyes and running away in a striped shirt with a bag emblazed with a dollar sign full of other people’s writing, I’m not sure what he thinks is left to do here.

Your honor, I may have committed identity theft and I may have robbed that KFC but if you look in my fridge at home I think you and the jury will be pleasantly surprised to see there’s a chicken leg in there that I did, in fact, cook myself.  So if you could just undo these cuffs and maybe give me some cab fare home, I’d like to get back to my afternoon nap.

I’d like you to take a moment to compare, in your head, all the jobs you can do that will allow you to commit fraud versus all of those that don’t.  If you commit bank fraud, you don’t get to be the branch manager in 6 months.  If you pretend to be a doctor, no one comes to you to fill prescriptions next year.  In no profession in the world can you completely lie and misrepresent your work and then expect to just wait a while and get back to that job.  When did Milli Vanilli last have a hit single for Christ’s sake?  This is why writing is so maligned and this is why Terrell Mims is no writer.  He doesn’t have any respect for the craft at all.

Mims published a blog post admitting what he did.  He says “It took me over two years to come back, but I come back humbled, repentant, and truly sorry for those I hurt.”  (Notice the quotation marks.  It’s because I didn’t write that so I’m quoting).  It did not take Mims 2 years to come back.  It took him 2 months in hiding to devise a fake name and then return to what he did and when he finally came back to the writers workshop he linked them another stolen piece.

Just as in his conversation with David Dietle on Twitter, Mims tries to deflect away from himself.  We all have things in our past we don’t want people to know about, blah blah, obfuscation and misdirection blah.  Bullshit.  If I used to shit on people’s mailboxes it doesn’t make the stuff he stole any less stolen and it’s also totally irrelevant.

If you want to move on from something like this, and you can, you don’t hide behind a fraudulent name and (this one may be harder to grasp )YOU DON’T KEEP STEALING OTHER PEOPLE’S WRITING.  The mind boggles as to how he glosses over both of these and focuses solely on the “nobody’s perfect” sob story.  What is this, 4th grade?  No one’s eating this shit with a spoon, kiddo.

Mims’ arrogance speaks louder than anything, certainly louder than his purloined words.  In the past he pretended to be an expert and a mentor and when that fell apart he crawled back as a supplicant and now he puts himself on a cross as a martyr to his love of the craft.  Woe is me, give me another chance.  Forgive the sinner, not the sin, I can make amends.  On behalf of wordsmiths everywhere, go fuck yourself.

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