The caged bird doesn’t tweet: Twitter’s Maya Angelou is a hoax


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Photo credit: Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images.

To the 2,495 people who are following Maya Angelou* on Twitter, prepare for some bad news: This caged bird is a fake.

The tweeting Angelou was revealed as a fraud today by her representative at Lordly & Dame, the Boston-based speaking agency. Her agent, David LaCamera, said he had reached out to Twitter when the bogus account first came to his attention a few weeks ago, but he received no satisfaction.


‘It’s sad that this even goes on in our society,’ LaCamera said. ‘But anyone who reads it and knows her goes, ‘Who the hell wrote this?’ ‘

Not so fast, sir. We are not all as intimate with High Verse as you. The less discerning eye may see no reason to be suspicious of such poetic tweets as, ‘I am very sad. My friends are few... but my words runneth over,’ or, ‘I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself,’ or even, ‘It is as important to love ourselves as much as the world around us.’

What did LaCamera have against any of those uplifting sentiments?

‘Let’s put it this way,’ he said. ‘It’s sophomoric versus doctoral.’

Touche. But did the real Angelou know of her impostor?

‘The funny thing is that even someone of her stature,’ he said, ‘although she speaks eight languages, she’s not necessarily very fluent in computerese. When she became aware of it, she basically shook her head.’

Hear that, fake Angelou? Your few weeks of borrowed glory may now be coming to a close, but take heart! At least you speak computerese....

Updated, Feb. 26, 8:48 a.m.: The owner of the @mayaangelou Twitter account has posted an audio reply to this post, claiming she is indeed the genuine article: ‘Let me assure you my publicist does not monitor my online life, nor does he discourage me from reaching my audience by whatever means necessary.’ Impressive, but still: this is the age of multimedia chicanery, so we will withhold the retraction until we receive a satisfactory video response from the would-be Angelou.

Updated, Feb. 26, 1:14 p.m. The Angelou impersonator has come clean: she says she’s actually a 20-year-old male artist named Lee. Closing the case, it should be noted that Lee does a pretty good Angelou impression.

*Updated, Feb. 26, 2:47 p.m. The phony Maya Angelou account has been nuked by Twitter. The new one may or may not be controlled by her representatives.

-- David Sarno [follow]