Report: Te'o Hoaxer Was "in Love" With Football Star

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 30 2013 11:35 AM

Te'o's Catfish Hoaxer Apparently Had Fallen "Deeply, Romantically in Love" With Him

NBC's Today show this morning brought us our first look at Ronaiah Tuiasosopo's sit-down with Dr. Phil McGraw. Tuiasosopo, you no doubt recall, is the apparent mastermind behind Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o fake dead girlfriend. The first half of the interview won't air in full tomorrow, but the big takeaway from today's short excerpts and McGraw's account of the interview include the fact that Tuiasosopo took full credit for the scam, and backed Te'o's claim that he was the victim of, and not a knowing participant in, the hoax. Oh yeah, and there was this:

"Here we have a young man that fell deeply, romantically in love," McGraw told NBC’s Mike Taibbi in a segment that aired on TODAY Wednesday. "I asked him straight up, 'Was this a romantic relationship with you?' And he says yes. I said, 'Are you then therefore gay?' And he said, 'When you put it that way, yes.' And then he caught himself and said, 'I am confused.' "
Advertisement

That account lines up pretty flush with the one offered by Tuiasosopo's lawyer earlier this month. The attorney, Milton Grimes, told the New York Daily News that his client hadn't executed the elaborate prank in an attempt to hurt Te'o. "It was establishing a communication with someone," Grimes explained, somewhat vaguely. "It was a person with a troubled existence trying to reach out and communicate and have a relationship."

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.***

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.