Today, Katie Couric has an interview with Manti Te’o and we are live blogging what goes down.
Buy now, you know that Manti Te’o had a fake online girlfriend named Lennay Kekua. Today, Katie Couric is interviewing him on her daytime talk show, Katie. This is his first TV interview.
One of the things this hoax did was make the TV show “Catfish” have more credibility. It also coined that phrase for sure. But that brings up a good point, can we please take a moment to kind of gloat that (of course) Katie Couric got this interview instead of Nev Schulman. (Nev, I’d like you more if I thought your movie and show weren’t generally a hoax in it of itself.)
Some pictures of “Lennay” were blurred in the face, for this show. Others were not. Even when t hey were the same photo. That was odd. Hopefully they got permission to use those pictures from the actual woman.
Couric wore an all black dress, as though she really wanted to take this seriously. Though we all know this is headed towards a Lifetime movie, right? The first ten minutes were regulated to a rehashing of the timeline, done via video clips. As soon as we saw the two sitting in chairs, ready to talk, they cut to commercial. So, ten minutes down and we know nothing. Awesome.
Te’o insists he didn’t lie to the public. “I wasn’t as forthcoming about it… but I didn’t lie. I never was asked ‘did you see her in person’?” Then he flipped the script sand said he had lied, and the worst was when he told his Dad that he had met her.
Did he have any involvement in creating the scam? “No, I did not. I think what people don’t realize is that the sames day everyone else found out about this…so did I.”
There were “some good time and some bad times,” Te’o said about the experience. And good times? Well, he did say that he thinks it did some good. “I think for me the only thing I basked in was that I had an impact on people, that people turned to me for inspiration.”
“You know, my story, I felt, was a guy who in times of hardship and in times of trial really held strong to his faith, held strong to his family.”
And is it possible he enjoyed having a fake girlfriend? Well, he credits those emotions as real. “What I went through was real. You know, the feelings, the pain, the sorrow — that was all real, and that’s something that I can’t fake.”
Some of Manti’s friends knew he had never met Lennay. And he was always trying to meet her. In fact, he tried to Facetime with her but he could only see a black box. She would say she could see him, but he could never see her.
Is Manti Te’o gay? Katie wanted to know. “No. Far from it. Faaar from it.”
As for why he wanted to be with Lennay instead of a girl he saw every day, he said it was because they both were so rooted in their shared faith and culture.
The one point Couric hammered was that Te’o didn’t try to visit Lennay in the hospital after her car crash. It wouldn’t have been too tough, just a two hour drive from where he was at the time.
Couric confirmed there were phone bills that did last for several hours, from his phone. Which proves he actually did call this person for very long periods of time.
Te’o provided the show with some voicemails from Lennay. “Doesn’t it sound like a girl?” he asked. While hearing these, he teared up.
He had never known who was the voice on the other end of the phone.
At the end of the interview, his parents were brought out. And all three were crying.
Brian, his Father, says: “People can speculate about what they think he is. I’ve known him 21 years of his life. And he’s not a liar. He’s a kid.”
Where do you stand on this story? Do you think he lied or not?
Credit: Disney-ABC/ Lorenzo Bevilaqua