The Internet story of the day is undoubtedly Deadspin’s fascinating investigation into the story of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o and his girlfriend Lennay Kekua, a kind and loving Stanford student whose tragic death from cancer spurred Te’o to a Heisman-worthy season—or would have, if she existed, which Deadspin alleges she does not. Some snippets:
But there is no SSA record there of the death of Lennay Marie Kekua, that day or any other. Her passing, recounted so many times in the national media, produces no obituary or funeral announcement in Nexis, and no mention in the Stanford student newspaper.
Nor is there any report of a severe auto accident involving a Lennay Kekua. Background checks turn up nothing. The Stanford registrar’s office has no record that a Lennay Kekua ever enrolled. There is no record of her birth in the news. Outside of a few Twitter and Instagram accounts, there’s no online evidence that Lennay Kekua ever existed.
The photographs identified as Kekua—in online tributes and on TV news reports—are pictures from the social-media accounts of a 22-year-old California woman who is not named Lennay Kekua. She is not a Stanford graduate; she has not been in a severe car accident; and she does not have leukemia. And she has never met Manti Te’o.
To maintain the fiction that Kekua existed, Te’o’s friend Ronaiah Tuiasosop (and possibly Te’o himself) created fake social-media profiles for her, using pictures from an old high-school classmate he had tricked into posing with Lennay’s initials. Until April 2012, this fake Lennay Kekua Internet presence went by the Twitter handle @lovalovaloveYOU, and Manti Te’o would often give her 140-character shoutouts from his own account.
This is where pop music comes in.
While Lennay Kekua’s online profiles have long since gone private, tweets responding to her are still up. Including this one:
Yes, that’s R&B star Miguel responding to what seems to have been a fairly flirtatious tweet from the made-up girlfriend of a college football star, 14 months before she was unmasked as a hoax. There are three possibilities here:
1) Whoever invented Lennay Kekua just happened to be a huge fan of Miguel from his little-loved debut album All I Want Is You, and decided to tweet at him under the guise of an attractive woman in the hopes that he’d respond. Possible, but unintriguing.
2) Miguel was the unnamed first mark of Lennay Kekua, the one who Deadspin says “dated” her for a month before his family got suspicious. Intriguing! Miguel’s Kaleidoscope Dream, which was being written around the time he tweeted at Lennay, often deals the secrets and betrayals that come with a forbidden love affair. Could a song like “Pussy Is Mine” really be about the hurt Miguel felt when his lady love was unmasked as a hoax?
3) Miguel is actually in on the hoax, for reasons yet to be revealed. Most intriguing! This thing could all the way to the top (of the pops!)