George Takei, Facebook 'ghostwriter' respond to controversy
Many of George Takei's some 4.1 million Facebook followers probably went "Oh, myyy" when they learned that he does not post all of his own messages, as revealed recently by the 76-year-old "Star Trek" alum's "ghostwriter."
The person has now apologized for letting the Tribble out of the bag, while the actor himself says that the important thing is that his posts make his fans smile and giggle.
Media writer Jim Romenesko wrote on his "blog recently that journalist Rick Polito, who once penned a quirky "Wizard of Oz" synopsis that went viral, told him in an email that he writes "funny lines for George Takei's Facebook page" and is paid $10 per joke. Takei is known for sharing parody photos and other humorous images and memes found online, in addition to personal tidbits about his life.
Scores of fans posted public messages on his Facebook page in response, including one, who wrote: "I am very disappointed in you...you never write your own posts..you admitted that you have a ghostwriter...you should just close this FB page...because it is been a fraud for all your fans.....what were you thinking..... :-( :-"
Takei is not the only celebrity to "outsource" social media duties to "ghostwriters" -- many stars employ assistants to Tweet or post messages on Facebook and other networks on their behalf.
Takei responded to the backlash in an email, composed at a recent "Star Trek" convention in Boston, sent to the website Wired.
"What is this hoo-ha about my FB posts?" Takei wrote in an email. "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.""The commentaries are mine," he added. "They are authentically mine, I assure you."
Takei mentioned his husband in a Facebook post published on June 12, saying the two watched the musical "Kinky Boots," which won six Tony Awards on Sunday (see a full list of winners).
Polito told Romenesko in a follow-up interview that he "wrote an apology to George and Brad and their guy said he'd pass it on."
The writer, who is promoting a new book, added: "I don't update his page. I've had no direct contact with George. I've sent him some memes, as have other comedian types and I was happy for the exposure."
On Thursday, June 13, Takei's Facebook page featured a link to an article and the following message:
"If you've been following the ridiculous controversy that recently exploded online, you'll agree that haters can be found everywhere. Yes, I'm talking about the recent Cheerios commercial featuring--gasp--a bi-racial couple and their child. This is a hilarious response to that controversy."
(Pictured above: George Takei talks to OTRC.com about the star-studded "8" play in a March 2012 interview (WATCH it here). Also pictured: His husband, Brad.)