Catching the Catfisher aired as a tag-on special to last night’s episode of Sister Wives.
NBC News correspondent, Erica Hill, hosted the show, highlighting catfish victims, along with typical profiles and scenarios found in both online scammers and their targets. Meri Brown was featured in the special, sharing her catfished experience.
Not surprisingly, her account was shaded by specifics that didn’t align with what viewers witnessed, as the scandal unfolded several months ago. A core story was told, but key details were glazed over, or omitted all together.
Meri claimed that her scowling behavior last season, stemmed from remorse, guilt and fear, after she allowed this sketchy presence into the family. However, the attitude viewers witnessed did not resemble fear, but rather anger, and ornery disenchantment. She spoke of being withdrawn due to regret, when it certainly appeared more to be peeved dissatisfaction with her life, and disconnection with the family—especially Kody.
Hill cites the divorce from Kody, his remarriage to Robyn, and the adoption of Robyn’s children, as contributors to Meri’s loneliness. Meri nor any of the Browns have point blanked those hard facts before. The point highlights the ongoing family denial of the severe emotional hit. Meri has hopscotched around, vaguely hinting to the dynamic triggered by the shift, but has never tagged the family decision as an emotional disaster. Congrats Erica, for finally saying it.
Meri states that she told “Sam” that she was married and “nothing is happening.” However, she speaks of “making plans” that never panned out, due to interruptions, and other excuses. Hill labels the dynamic “a pattern” that continued for several months. Meri says that she accepted “excuse after excuse.,” from Sam. If Meri purported that “nothing” would be happening—why the desperate need to meet, for several months? No one even asked her.
A Friendship…Or More?
Hill explains that Meri said that suddenly, the “friendship” took a “very dark turn.” Meri details threats from both “Sam,” and Lindsay, but ignores any timeline—evidently “suddenly” is good enough. Meri appeared poised to pack up and flee the compound, post Alaska trip. It seems likely that the alleged threats began after discovery, not during the relationship. Meri states that she felt “emotionally raped,” and that she had shared secrets with “Sam” about the Browns. Fair enough. However, she also claimed that she trusted him, only as a friend. No one questioned the dramatic language she used to describe a supposed early level of intimacy. In fact, the level of intimacy that Meri and Sam shared, was not discussed.
The voicemails and text messages were NOT denied—however Meri claims that they were sent out of fear. The voicemails, messages and photos tell another story. One of the contributors noted “intimate details” being exchanged between the couple. True indeed, and anyone who has heard and seen the evidence would find it hard to believe that Mare was forced. Voicemails reveal Meri begging for attention—and we won’t even talk about the banana factor. It is interesting to note that Meri did not claim that visual or audio manipulation took place.
A Voice…Or A Whisper?
Meri concluded her story by noting that she wanted to be “a voice” for catfish victims. While the predator is labeled as an Oklahoma woman, the show does not identify the alleged culprit, Jackie Overton. Mare shares her frustration over weak laws of protection, but NBC doesn’t offer a concrete law that was even abused. If Meri wants to be a “voice,” shouldn’t it first be used to tell the whole truth—including identifying the predator? “Sam” spoke to NBC news—but producers don’t play the audio, presumably to not feed the Fish, with televised attention.
The special was a mixed-bag, all wrapped in a message of simple common sense, when it comes to online relationships. Will “Sam” be silenced, and will this careful broadcast shut the door of the case? Time will tell.