'Catfish' star reaches out to Manti Te'o - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

'Catfish' star reaches out to Manti Te'o

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Nev Schulman (left) and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o (right) Nev Schulman (left) and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o (right)

(ABC News) -- Nev Schulman, the star and creator of the MTV show "Catfish" that follows Internet dating hoaxes, has reached out to Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o and offered to help solve his girlfriend hoax.

Te'o and Notre Dame claim he was a "catfish" victim when it was revealed that the woman he said was his girlfriend and died of leukemia never existed.

The "Catfish" television show was spawned by a movie of the same name in which Schulman tracked down a person who pretended to be a young woman he had met online.

".@MTeo_5 I know how you feel. It happened 2 me. I want 2 help tell ur story & prevent this from happening to others in the future. Lets talk," Schulman tweeted to Te'o.

Schulman says in his tweets that he has information about the baffling hoax. "I am working on finding out more about this @MTeo_5 #Catfish story. I have been in contact with the woman involved and will get the truth," Schulman tweeted on Wednesday night. It is unclear which woman Schulman has been in contact with.

However, in a statment released to ABC News, Schulman said "I have been in touch with Donna Tei. She reached out to me back in December asking for help regarding the person who had been using her photos to create a fake profile."

It's not clear whether Donna Tei was the woman whose photo was used as "girlfriend" Lennay Kekua or another person in the complicated hoax.

He also tweeted, "However his #Manti story ends, it doesn't change that we are all the victims of a #Catfish."

In a statement on MTV.com, Schulman defended the possibility that Te'o had been duped.

"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," Schulman wrote. "And then, of course, when you look at it all in one snapshot, it does sort of seem kind of unbelievable."

Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick cited the documentary "Catfish" in trying to explain how the star linebacker became a hoax victim.

"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," Swarbrick told reporters Wednesday.

The 2010 film stars Schulman, who was the real-life victim of a "catfish" scam. Schulman wanted to make the documentary to show how he was sucked in by an Internet pretender -- or a "catfish" -- who built an elaborate fake life.

Schulman made the documentary as he was falling for someone named "Megan," a gorgeous 20-something from Michigan. Their online relationship blossomed until Schulman confronted "Megan."

"Megan" turned out to be a middle-aged mom of two named Angela Wesselman, who later said she had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

"It was different. It was something new. It was a little mysterious," Schulman told ABC News in an earlier interview, describing his reaction before he discovered Megan's true identity.

Now, a much wiser Schulman is helping others catch the "catfish" in his new hit series on MTV inspired by the real-life documentary, "Catfish: The TV Show."

In one episode, Schulman meets Sunny, who says she has been dating a medical student online named "Jameson" for eight months.

"He's going to be an anesthesiologist. He does online classes," Sunny says of "Jameson" in the episode.

Schulman convinces Sunny to take a road trip to meet "Jameson" face to face and and Sunny later finds out "Jameson" was really a woman who was pretending to be a man online for at least four years.

"I mean who does that?" Sunny said in the episode.

As more become connected through various social media outlets, Schulman says these "catfish" hoaxes will continue.

"So long as we're not looking people in the eye face-to-face, there's always going be room, a lot of room for deception," he said.

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