Meri Brown revealed new details about her catfishing scandal tonight during a special episode of Catching the Catfisher. And while Brown's appearance did humanize her experience more than what has previously been reported, it also made me feel skeptical about the truth behind Brown's situation.
Throughout the episode, Brown made a point of referring to Samuel Cooper — the man she thought she was in an online relationship with — as her "friend" and just her friend.
"I just felt like we were kicking off this online friendship, through Twitter," Brown said.
She even said she told Samuel, "Yeah, but you know I'm married, I mean, nothing's happening," when he first told her he loved her.
In fact, Brown said that it was because she feared what Samuel would do if she cut off contact that she sent him romantic voicemails and text messages at all.
"I felt an affection to this guy at the beginning. I felt like, you know, in a different place, in a different time then there maybe could be a relationship because I felt a connection," Brown said.
Then the relationship deteriorated, according to Brown, after she met Samuel's "friend" Lindsey, who Brown now thinks was the real person behind Samuel's profile. At the time, however, Brown just thought that Lindsey was a creepy, overly protective friend because Lindsey reportedly threatened Brown. Brown said she was scared of what would happen to herself and to her family if she didn't call and leave Samuel loving messages.
"I was avoiding stuff with the family," Brown explained, "because I'm thinking, 'OK I really screwed up by even starting this conversation with this person in the first place and bringing it into the family.'"
Brown added, "I allowed myself to be isolated by this person, and it was emotionally draining. I cried so much during those months. I knew that I was stuck, and I didn't know how to get out of it."
It was Brown's Twitter followers who eventually alerted Brown to the fact that Samuel was not a real person and that Brown was being catfished. She said she didn't even know what the term meant when her followers started commenting on her "friend" Samuel's authenticity.
I can absolutely buy into the fact that Brown got herself caught up in an unfortunate situation and then didn't know how to backtrack. I think that happened, as is evident by Brown's comments while she was with her family in Alaska. She told them not to be surprised if she disappeared and didn't come back. Some heavy and scary words, to be sure.
Still, I'm skeptical about a lot of Brown's comments in the catfishing special. It seemed obvious to me that she was trying to minimize the depth of her emotional involvement in this online relationship.
Brown did admit the experience was crushing to her.
"I kind of felt like I had been emotionally raped, honestly," Brown said. "I had trusted this person. I had trusted the guy as a friend. I had shared stuff with him about my family, about myself."
But it was so crushing because, in my opinion, Brown was so emotionally invested.
Here is a transcript of one voicemail she left for Samuel, as documented by In Touch, comparing him to Kody:
"I wasn’t, I wasn’t comparing you in anyway — you know what, guess what? If I were to compare you, you would win on all counts. You win on all f--king levels. Now I’m pissed. You don’t think that — you don’t think that you’d be out? You don’t think that I think that you’re taller, better looking. Better looking, anyway. Kinder, sweeter, you care about me. You want me. You say that you’re willing to fight for me, you say all these things about love and affection and passion. So yeah, if I were to compare you, you win all the time."
"I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you. I just do," she proclaims.
Is this a woman who is being coerced into making these statements? It's hard to believe that could be the case, especially considering she tried to FaceTime with Samuel and meet with him in person on multiple occasions.
But that's just what Catching the Catfisher suggested.
"She said she did leave messages for Sam," show host Erica Hill explained of Brown's actions, "but only because she was afraid what Lindsey would do."
Either way, Brown is clearly the victim in this situation. There's no arguing that. Not only did she unknowingly enter into a relationship with a fake person, but then that person further violated her privacy by releasing intimate conversations they had with Brown.
While I completely understand Brown's desire to reduce her emotional involvement in this situation, I also hope that off camera she is seeking some honest help, no matter what the truth really is.
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