Diane O’Meara, the woman who was recently outed as the face of Manti Te’o’s fake girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, is finally speaking out about the hoax, and she isn’t pleased.
O’Meara, a 23-year-old marketing executive who resides in California, says that she had never met or even heard of Manti Te’o until learning that, for more than a year, her private photos had been serving as the face of a woman named Lennay Kekua, who was supposedly dating Te’o.
When Kekua purportedly died in September, of complications stemming from leukemia, Te’o spoke of his heartbreak, but, as Deadspin reporters eventually uncovered, not only did Lennay Kekua not die, but in reality, she was a hoax created by an acquaintance of Te’o named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.
According to O’Meara, Tuiasosopo was a high school classmate who she had never been close with and hadn’t seen in roughly five years. O’Meara alleges that he created the online profiles for Kekua using photos he obtained from her Facebook profile.
“In the past five years, he has literally been stalking my Facebook and stealing my photos,” O’Meara told NBC News, referring to Tuiasosopo.
According to the original report published by Deadspin, the last time that O’Meara had spoken to Tuiasosopo, prior to learning of the identity theft, was during an odd encounter in December of 2012. O’Meara told reporters that Tuiasosopo had messaged her that month, after years of not speaking, and told her that his cousin had been involved in a serious car accident. Tuiasosopo flattered her by saying that his cousin had thought she was pretty and asked O’Meara if she would take a photo of herself for him, holding a sign that said “MSMK,” to be included in a slideshow meant to help cheer him up.
O’Meara agreed; it wasn’t until she was notified about her involvement in the hoax that she spoke to Tuiasosopo again. When O’Meara eventually did contact Tuiasosopo about the situation, she said that he seemed disturbed by the news and "immediately began acting weird."
Tuiasosopo reportedly told O’Meara, "don't worry about it," and minutes later her photos were taken down from the account. The same day that Deadspin broke the story, she said Tuiasosopo called to apologize to her, but the apology was too little too late.
"I don't think there's anything he could say to me that would fix this," O’Meara said.