The King of Catfish: Manti T’eo’s Fake Girlfriend

Lennay Kekua, the fraudulent girlfriend of Notre Dame linebacker and Heisman Trophy hopeful Manti T’eo, could have fooled many others who fell for her online charms. Such is the impression brought forward by Ariel Schulman, a documentary director who is very familiar with elaborate Internet fakery.

Ariel and Nev Schulman are the brothers responsible for the 2010 documentary Catfish, a film that showed followed the strange online relationship forged by New York City photographer Nev Schulman with a Michigan family. In the movie, Nev is lured into a romantic relationship with a woman named Megan. In a similar twist to the Manti T’eo story, Nev discovered that “Megan” also suffered from cancer and was a construct of an Internet impostor who used online social networking for strange, fantasy-driven motives.

The success of the incredible Catfish story translated into an investigative and reality television show also named Catfish, which takes a look at the strange phenomenon of Internet hoaxes in the 21st century. The outlandishness of the Manti T’eo story has prompted journalists to contact the Schulman brothers, who are now looking into the possibility of Lennay Kekua being a serial duper.

Lennay Kekua: An Elaborate Artifice

Even though Lennay Kekua is nothing but a construct seemingly perpetrated by a team of flim-flam artists, it is hard to ignore the details of her non-existent personality. This was an alleged Stanford student who has been described as a tall, shapely and sun-kissed Polynesian girl in the prime of her life, despite suffering from a leukemia condition. Such was the description given by Reagan Mauia, a professional fullback who plays for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League. Like T’eo, Mauia is a Samoan American.

The Schulmans are now looking at the web of deceit possibly weaved by Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, a former high school football star who comes from a Samoan American family whose members have connections to the NFL. The only pattern discovered thus far is the important contribution that ethnic Samoans have made to American football. In fact, Manti’s father Brian has been instrumental in motivating the young T’eo to achieve greatness as a player.

The Legal Point of View

At this point it is not clear if Manti T’eo had anything to do with this act of deception, or if he was unwillingly “catfished” by an adept crew of fakers. Details are emerging, and the woman whose pictures were inadvertently used has been identified as Diane O’Meara, a stunning graduate from California State University.

Legal analysts have suggested that O’Meara may have some legal and a chance to file a civil complaint against the perpetrators of this hoax. If O’Meara was a Rutgers graduate, for example, a New Jersey IT lawyer could help her by looking into possible libel claims. Even if T’eo is found to have been a participant of this exotic circus of lies, he has broken the law. He may have tricked the public and his fans, but he has not pulled a fast one on law enforcement.


Louie is a blogger for 5 years now. He loves to write topics about family and relationships developed personally or online. He also like to write topics about complaints brought about by relationships. The article above is for New Jersey IT lawyer, a law firm.

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