The “Kayla the Catphisher” Episode on The Dr. Phil Show
By Ken K. Gourdin
Seven Brigham Young University coeds were deceived by someone who stole someone else’s picture from elsewhere on the Internet and used it to go “catphishing” for those coeds. The incident was featured in an episode of The Dr. Phil Show last year. Phishing is the act of attempting to deceive someone into divulging enough personal information over the Internet for con artists to steal the identity and assets of their victims, and catphishing involves a person pretending to be someone he is not in order to lure someone for romantic purposes. In this case, much to the young women’s surprise, the person who deceived them, “Kayla,” is a lesbian.
Anytime the subject of an in-real-life meeting was broached between this young “man” and one of the women, “he” always proffered some excuse.
In response to someone defending Kayla’s actions, I wrote:
You and she appear to be cut from the same cloth: you both seem to live in a world in which lying to strangers, leading them on, and playing with their emotions is simply another, equally-valid, equally-adaptive way of coping with the crap life inevitably throws our way. Well-spoken and intelligent? Yes, I agree with you: those seven co-eds, while they may have been quite naive before this experience, ARE well-spoken and intelligent. Kayla? If she’s well-spoken and intelligent, she’s a well-spoken, intelligent, manipulative (borderline? sociopathic?) liar who seems to blame everyone but herself for her troubles.
My interlocutor stated, essentially, that, as religously devout adherents to the Mormon faith, these young women deserved what they got, stating that their reaction to “Kayla” is driven, not by “Kayla’s” deceit, but rather by racial animus, as everyone knows Mormons and Mormonism are racist, belittling religion in general and Mormonism in particular. I responded:
Some of the brightest minds in the history of the world are also, and have been, people of faith. And for all you ridicule faith, you, too, have faith in certain things, even if you don’t call it that. Scientists, for example, tell us there is an infinite number of stars in the universe. Are we to believe that they know that because they have counted them all? Of course not; such a prospect is, by definition, impossible, because infinity is uncountable. And not that it’s any of your business, but I understand more about loneliness and not being accepted than you can possibly imagine. (So much for the “bubble” you say I live in.) Tons of people are lonely and are (or at least feel) unaccepted: many of them find solace on line … by being themselves. They don’t use their loneliness and lack of acceptance as an excuse to “borrow” an innocent person’s picture, to lie to strangers, manipulate them, lead them on, and play with their emotions.