For decades, "Star Trek" star George Takei has enjoyed fame as a sci-fi icon and one of the most recognizable Asian-American actors in Hollywood. Over the past few years, he’s also taken on a kind of second career as one of the most popular personalities on Facebook. His humorous posts and images attract millions of "likes" each day. Last week, however, one comedian let it slip that Takei isn’t writing all the jokes himself, and now he wants Takei to know he’s sorry for spilling the beans.
Last week, blogger Jim Romensko inadvertently revealed that many of the jokes on Takei’s Facebook page were in fact written by comedian and journalist Rick Polito, who owns his own Facebook page That TV Guy. In light of some fan uproar against Takei employing ghostwriters, Polito now says he’s written an apology for unintentionally creating such a controversy.
“I wrote an apology to George and Brad and their guy said he’d pass it on,” Polito said. “I just said that I’d been looking for any mention of my book I could get and that I hadn’t meant to expose anything.”
Originally, Polito announced that he was a ghostwriter for Takei almost by accident in a short interview with Romensko. Polito simply casually stated that he’s been unable to pull in a decently paying salaried job, but that he’s been elated to be earning money on the side writing jokes for Takei.
“Even at $10 a joke it still feels like a validation to see so many people reacting to my humor,” Polito said. “I have written jokes that got 10 likes per second for hours. The power of George is unbelievable. His fans are a viral army. He may not be a stockholder, but he owns Facebook.”
According to a statement from Takei’s representative to Buzzfeed, Polito’s job specifically involved coming up with captions for memes and images.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, some fans didn’t take it lightly when they found out that all of Takei’s hilarious Facebook posts weren’t necessarily his own.
“This is bullsh*t. Totally lost respect for both of you,” wrote one commenter on Buzzfeed, though many fans were much calmer in voicing their displeasure.
As for Takei himself, he seems to think the whole controversy is a bit ridiculous. He is, after all, a 76-year-old working actor. As he tells Wired, Takei may not always write everything on his page himself, but he plays a big hand in curating the image he presents as well as making specific commentaries on the world.
“What is this hoo-ha about my FB posts?” Takei wrote in an email to Wired. “I have Brad, my husband, to help me and interns to assist. What is important is the reliability of my posts being there to greet my fans with a smile or a giggle every morning. That’s how we keep on growing.”