By definition, catfishing is a deceptive activity involving the creation of a fictive persona or fake identity on a social networking service, usually targeting a specific victim.
This is exactly what Manti Te’o was subjected to when he met Lennay Kekua and embarked on an online relationship with ‘her’, not knowing she was a man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo (who has since come out as a transgender woman named Naya).
The two-part, 60-minute Netflix original documentary, Untold, by directors Tony Vainuku and Ryan Duffy focuses on Te’o’s life, career, and relationship that was eventually exposed in a 2013 Deadspin article.
The audiences get to hear firsthand accounts of what happened, including explanations from Tuiasosopo regarding the motivation behind creating the fake identity.
Tuiasosopo went to great lengths to pull off the elaborate scheme, including using multiple cellphone numbers, creating fake family members (and fake voices for each member), and even meeting Te’o as himself (claiming to be Kekua’s cousin).
The documentary dedicates a large portion of its runtime to focusing on the aftermath of the scandal and how Te’o and Tuiasosopo’s lives have changed over the past decade.
The question that lingers throughout is how did Te’o not know he was being catfished?
It becomes clear that Te’o’s good Christian morals and good heart partially made him an easy target, as he was always sympathetic towards Kekua’s reasoning for being unable to meet up.
It is clear that Tuiasosopo feels little to no remorse and takes pretty much no responsibility for her actions.
The film is the sixth installment in the nine-part Untold: documentary film series.