Catfishing online hoax term traced to movie

Notre Dame linebacker, Manti Te'o said he was tricked into believing that a woman he had been having an online and telephone relationship with during the 2012 college football season had died on the same day as his grandmother. Later, he learned that the woman never existed and was the creation of a friend.

Jan 17 2013, 1:55pm CST | by

Catfishing online hoax term traced to moviecatfishing
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Whether it was a publicity ploy or a hoax perpetrated on a Notre Dame football player, the event created a new term, catfishing, for the phenomena.

It all began, according to USA Today, during the 2012 college football season when Notre Dame linebacker, Manti Te'o was tricked into believing that an online girlfriend had died when the same day that his grandmother died in Hawaii. It wasn't true course.

Eventually, it was discovered that the girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, was basically a sock puppet, an online persona who did not actually exist. Apparently, the virtual girlfriend was created by Ronaial Tuiasosopo, a Palmdale Calif., pastor, and a friend of the football player.

Te'o said in a statement released Wednesday that the situation was personally embarrassing. The online relationship, he said, develop over an extended period of time. He believed it was a real person, he cared deeply about, which he had been communicating with both online and by phone.

The linebacker said he realizes now that he should been more wary of conducting an online relationship. Te'o added that he hopes that perhaps others will learn from this situation and be more guarded in developing similar relationships.

Notre Dame athletic director, Jack Swarbick, coined the term catfishing, based when the title of the 2010 documentary Catfish -- which is also the name of an MTV show that is based on the movie. The purpose of the show is to expose actual hoaxes.

 

 

 
 
 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/19" rel="author">Jeffrey B. Roth</a>
A multi-award winning writer, Jeffrey B. Roth is a well-known investigative reporter, who covers crime, law, politics, sciences, business, medicine, education, history and a wide range of other topics. In 2010, Roth won first place for a new series in the Keystone Press Awards, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association. A published short story writer and poet, Roth is listed in the Locus Index of Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors. Currently, Roth writes for CBS Philadelphia, CBS Baltimore, the Philadelphia Examiner and regional publications, including Carroll Magazine, Carroll Business Quarterly and Hagerstown Magazine to name a few. In the past, Roth, a former crisis intervention counselor and teacher, has written for numerous Pennsylvania newspapers, state and national magazines and the Associated Press. He lives in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, west of Gettysburg, Pa.

 

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