The latest buzz is the story of Manti Te’o who allegedly was duped by an online girlfriend story. HuffPost Live Canada published today that the sports world is rocked by this story. However, some people are claiming it is a hoax. Manti Te’o maintains that he was the victim in this case. Notre Dame senior linebacker Manti Te'o released a statement saying he was the "victim of what was apparently someone's sick joke and constant lies."
HuffPost continues, “Immediately, people began to cry "Catfish," referring to the 2011 film documenting the story of a young photographer who fell in love with a woman he met on Facebook, and as the relationship intensified, he realized that the woman wasn't who she said she was. “
HuffPost wrote that Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame's athletic director, believes it was a scam. "Catfish" directors Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost told HuffPost that they believe this could really happen to Te’o because he appears to be “a naive open-hearted guy who really fell for this girl.”
Furthermore, today the Los Angeles Times reported that, "In many ways, Manti was the perfect mark," Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick said, "because he is a guy who is so willing to believe in others and so ready to help.”
Fox News reported about the story of Lennay Kekua’s apparent death from leukemia. That story became, “his team’s most dramatic storyline as the Fighting Irish went undefeated through the regular season.”
Te’o has been badgered by many questions concerning the story. In his defense he stated, "In retrospect, I obviously should have been more cautious. I hope it is that others will be far more guarded when they engage with people online than I was."
Was the girlfriend really who she said she was?
According to the much quoted deadspin.com, “we got in touch with a woman living in Torrance, Calif. We'll call her Reba, to protect her identity. She was initially confused; then horrified to find that she had become the face of a dead woman. "That picture," she told us over the phone, "is a picture of me from my Facebook account."
They go on to say, “Manti Te'o and Lennay Kekua did not meet at Stanford in 2009. The real beginning of their relationship apparently occurred on Twitter, as an encounter between @MTeo_5 and @lovalovaloveYOU, on Oct. 10, 2011.
It is conceivable that Manti Te’o was a victim of an Internet hoax since cancer hoaxes and other types of hoaxes occur from time to time on the Internet. Many of these hoaxes are created to obtain large sums of money from unsuspecting victims. Furthermore, it is not just regular people who have been duped; celebrities have been duped as well. Lance Armstrong cyclist, Tony Hawk skateboarder and actor and Kenny Chesney a singer songwriter were fooled by Jonathan Jay White and Melissa Ann Rice who he claimed to be a 15-year-old cancer victim.
Then there are hoaxes of celebrity deaths such as the hoax that circulated recently about the death of Bill Cosby. It is unfortunate that Manti Te’o got caught up in this situation. He would not be the first person who was duped by someone on the Internet.