Face of Manti Te'o hoax announces plans to be less visible

The Los Angeles Times | Daily Download

Diane O'Meara has closed her social media accounts, she writes in the Los Angeles Times. A hoaxter told former Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o that O'Meara's face was Lennay Kekua, a woman he believed to be a girlfriend he never met. O'Meara realizes getting off the grid is "not a long-term solution":

Eventually, I'll go back to using social media. But I'll take an even more cautious approach. I'll have a new definition of who I agree to "friend," and it will be much closer to the old definition of friendship. My friends will be those I actually know and trust. If someone sends me a "friend" request, I will be as discerning as I am in choosing who I include in my off-line life.

She says she provided the photo to the hoaxter, widely reported to be Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who told her "he was trying to cheer up his cousin, who'd been nearly killed in a car accident and was awaiting surgery for head trauma. The cousin had seen my picture and thought I was pretty, and this man thought it would help his cousin's state to get a photograph of me."

O'Meara spoke with the "Today" show last week.

"We're encouraged to share," O'Meara told Lauren Ashburn. "Our parents grew up with 'Oh, don't call them, or just give them a wrong number, don't play with them.' Now you're totally exposed, you're totally vulnerable."

Related: An oral history of Deadspin, which broke the Te'o story: "What decided me on Deadspin was the existence of a clear enemy," Gawker Media honcho Nick Denton says. "It was arranged not so much around one singular passion as one singular jihad against the cozy cartel of ESPN and the managers." (Adweek) | Chuck Klosterman and Malcolm Gladwell email each other about the Te'o story (Grantland) | "The Te’o story is just plain weird" (Bluefield Daily Telegraph) | Bob Costas and Howard Kurtz discuss Te'o hoax (CNN)

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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