Did Manti Te'o get catfished? It's been brought up by many as a explanation for the weird story. And, in an epically weird press conference last night, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick actually referred to the documentary and MTV show. "I would refer all of you, if you're not already familiar with it, with both the documentary called Catfish, the MTV show which is a derivative of that documentary and the sort of associated things you'll find online and otherwise about Catfish or 'catfishing,'" he said. Yes, the athletic director of Notre Dame—in a primetime press conference—advised people to watch the show "Catfish."
Well, MTV talked to Nev Schulman from "Catfish" to get his thoughts on the matter. Here's a small sampling of what he had to say. Read the full interview here.
"My reaction is, quite frankly, no different from my reaction on the show. It doesn't really change anything for me that this victim is a high-profile football player. I think it can and obviously does happen to anyone," Schulman said. "When you make a connection with someone online, oftentimes it feels a little limited, but also safe. And people, strangely, are more comfortable sharing information about themselves sometimes with strangers online, simply because it's someone who is outside of their normal circle of friends, much in the same way you share things with a therapist. People get very close with these online friends.
"I very much got sucked into a relationship — it wasn't my intention, but it happened to me — and it happens slowly over time," he continued. "And, of course, when you read an article all at once where it reveals all these stories and all these details, it seems crazy, but in the process of it, as it happens very slowly, things don't seem so crazy. And then, of course, when you look at it all in one snapshot, it does sort of seem kind of unbelievable."
In the Deadspin article, reporters Timothy Burke and Jack Dickey write that a woman named Donna Tei reached out to Schulman after she discovered someone involved with Kekua was using her pictures, a fact Schulman confirmed to MTV News.
"Someone tweeted at me, because she was trying to get ahold of me to help her with something related to her image being used in some kind of 'Catfish' hoax," he said. And, having just heard of the story, I went into my 'Catfish' email account, and I have an email from this said person from December that I had not seen, where she does ask for help in regards to someone who was using her picture to create a fake profile. So there's definitely a connection, and this person obviously knows of me and the show and was making an effort to somehow get to the bottom of this."