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TikToker who made six-figure profits teaching essay-writing admits to plagiarism

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Apr 26, 2023 9:12 pm

A TikTok influencer, known for her essay writing lessons, has admitted that plagiarism allegations made against her are true.

According to multiple reports, 19-year-old Brooke Lim rose to fame on TikTok for her essay writing tutorials under her account @sugaresque, gathering her more than 183,000 followers. She also leads a tuition agency called Classicle Club, which has helped her earn more than six figures in 2022, as reported by Singaporean newspaper The Strait Times.

Everything had been going smoothly for the young influencer until a TikTok user with the ID @sugaresqueessay accused her of heavily plagiarizing her April 18 essay titled "On Being Afraid Of Eating." The piece, which has since been removed from her blog, Grayscale Copy, details Lim's supposed experiences with an eating disorder.

The anonymous user also posted multiple videos on their account detailing Lim's fraudulent act, as well as a lengthy Google document that extensively presents everything that Lim has lifted from others materials.

"More than half of the original version of her essay was not written by her, and in fact plagiarised from multiple books and articles," the document read.

"The similarities include: sentences, whole paragraphs, plot points, and specific details. While some words have been painstakingly paraphrased, the overall structure of full paragraphs are copied with no credit whatsoever to the original creators, despite the obvious correlations," it highlighted, saying over 70 percent of the piece was unoriginal.

Lim's essay allegedly took ideas from five books and eight articles without proper credit.

"It is disrespectful to the many people with eating disorders, especially the authors of the books and articles plagiarised," the anonymous user said. "And most importantly, it is disrespectful to Brooke herself as a writer to pass off work that is not hers and pretend it is," it added.

In response to these accusations, Lim posted a TikTok video where she admitted to plagiarizing the works of others, calling her actions "very serious and regrettable" and apologized to everyone that was affected from what she did.

"I am so sorry. I am so sorry to my students. I've been reaching out to them one by one to apologize. I am so sorry to my followers, anyone who has supported me one way or another, and to the authors of the books from which I have plagiarized," Lim said.

She went on, "I really should have just given due credit and explained that these were words that resonated very deeply with me."

Lim explained that she regretted not being "more careful throughout the process of crafting the essay," emphasizing, "I should have done my due diligence and I will be more careful in the future."

She made it clear, however, that her plagiarized work had not been monetized in any way or used to earn her some profits. She also stressed that the essay had "nothing to do" with her agency.

"I wish I could turn back time to change it, but I can't, so I've taken down the essay already," Lim said, adding that she is open to suggestions on how to make things right.

Amid this issue, an online petition launched by a user named Brianna Lee has called for the University of California (UCLA) to investigate Lim's admissions essay that she had submitted to them. Lee claimed that Lim had been offered admission into the university, to which the latter confirmed in an earlier TikTok video.

The petition, which has 1,088 signatures as of writing, described Lim's actions as "disrespectful and callous" as her eating disorder essay exploited "something so visceral and real to many to suit her own agenda."

However, Lim said that she has gotten wind of the petition and clarified that she is not yet committed to UCLA.