The "Catfish" TV show on MTV has gotten involved with the Manti Te'o girlfriend hoax. Te'o, a Notre Dame linebacker, originally told reporters that his girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, died of leukemia. Further investigation revealed that the girl was made up.
The "Catfish" TV show focuses on internet dating and relationships, specifically the lack of trust involved. Show producer Nev Schulman knows this firsthand, and documented his experience in 2010 with a woman, Megan, who turned out to be someone else completely— Angela.
Schulman has decided to try and expose the truth behind Manti Te'o's alleged girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, who Te'o now says was the plot of a "sick joke." In September, before the hoax went viral, Te'o had repeatedly referred to Kekua as his girlfriend who died of leukemia. After Deadspin reporters investigated, however, they found that there were virtually no records of Kekua besides some social media acI counts and news stories.
"I am working on finding out more about this @MTeo_5 #Catfish story," Schulman tweeted. "I have been in contact with the woman involed and will get the truth."
Many have criticized Te'o for what is perceived to be deception for his own personal gain— the Fighting Irish linebacker had come up in discussions for the Heisman Trophy, and the story of his willingness to play despite the loss made him a NCAA media sensation. Still, Te'o, who apparently only spoke to Kekua online, according to Notre Dame officials, has at least one friend— Nev Schulman.
"It's very embarrassing, of course. No one likes to admit that they got scammed or duped, especially when you retell the story in an abbreviated version. It generally sounds sort of ridiculous that you fell for it," Schulman told MTV. "It's hard to understand what people go through unless you're there with them, much like my story."
If Schulman succeeds in reaching out to Te'o, he seems prepared to broadcast his story on the "Catfish" show.
"I know how you feel," he tweeted to Te'o. "It happened to me. I want to help tell your story & prevent this from happening to others in the future. Let's talk."
"Catfish: The TV Show" airs on Monday nights at 11 p.m. EST on MTV.