The unsolicited admission from Jessica Krug that she, a white woman, has been pretending to be Black for years, was met with both derision and scorn from people who had never heard of her. But the college professor and activist was well known — some might say notorious — to a number of people within the Black academia space, according to a series of Twitter testimonials explaining how Krug fooled them into thinking she was Black despite their suspicions to the contrary.
In case you missed it, Krug on Thursday penned a personal confession of sorts on Medium in which she admitted “the truth, and the anti-Blackness of my lies” about her Jess La Bombera alter ego that she presented to the world as an Afro-Latina Black woman; a false front that belied her Jewish heritage.
“I have not only claimed these identities as my own when I had absolutely no right to do so — when doing so is 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 — but I have formed intimate relationships with loving, compassionate people who have trusted and cared for me when I have deserved neither trust nor caring,” Krug, a 38-year-old associate professor of history at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., wrote in part.
But while Krug’s op-ed seemed to come out of nowhere — most people reading her post and learning about her for the first time — it decidedly did not. Instead, Krug’s post was probably written because “two scholars” recently expressed their suspicions of her, according to a series of tweets from one fellow college professor.
Dr. Yomaira Figueroa, an associate professor of global diaspora studies at Michigan State University, tweeted Thursday that Krug was about to be outed.
Writer Hari Ziyad, who said he was friends with Krug until Thursday because of her post, expressed a similar sentiment and said she wrote it “because she had been found out.” A tweet from a separate Twitter account quoting Ziyad posted screenshots of a texting exchange that purportedly shows Krug — acting as Jess La Bombalera — using cultural colloquialisms like “light skint” and claiming “my entire family is Black.”
Another college professor tweeted that she and Krug were both serving fellowships at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. Dr. Yarimar Bonilla, a Professor in the Department of Africana, Puerto Rican and Latino Studies at Hunter College in New York City, explained in a Twitter thread that while she “always knew something was off with [Krug],” she admitted she was “fooled” into thinking Krug was an Afro-Latina woman.
However, Bonilla shared that Krug went above and beyond the call of maintaining her charade by perpetuating racial stereotypes to uphold her “masquerade.” That included a tweet alleging Krug said she was from “El Barrio” and that “her parents were addicts and even said that there were overdoses and suicide attempts happening during the fellowship period.”
Dr. Akissi Britton, an assistant professor of Africana studies at Rutgers University, wrote a Twitter thread about how Krug’s “identity as a Black woman hadn’t begun” when they met in 2007. But over the next three years until their friendship ended in 2010, Krug’s “story of a Puerto Rican grandfather began to come out” and she “started dotting conversations with her love and knowledge of Puerto Rican culture,” including dropping “bits of stories about her Puerto Rican heritage,” Britton tweeted. Britton added that Krug ultimately began referring to herself as “mulatta.”
Meanwhile, George Washington University is investigating her and articles Krug wrote for ESSENCE — a publication for and about Black women — appear to have been deactivated and her author page turns up no results.
In her confession, Krug insisted that she should be “cancelled” for her duplicity. It’s safe to say 24 hours later that her mission has more than been accomplished.