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Twitter Shuts Down Angelou Impostor

Daily News

Online Only, posted 2.27.09

The Twitter user claiming to be Maya Angelou has come clean as an impostor, David Sarno reported yesterday on the L.A. Times technology blog. Several weeks after Angelou's agent, David LaCamera, discovered the fraudulent account and alerted Twitter, the impersonator, whose tweets were followed by 2,495 Twitter users, revealed himself yesterday as a twenty-year-old male artist named Lee.

The confession came only after Lee posted on Twitter an audio clip in which he insisted he was the poet and author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, saying in response to allegations, "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."

LaCamera told Sarno that Angelou's readers would no doubt identify the tweets, which expressed such sentiments as "I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself" and "It is as important to love ourselves as much as the world around us," as fraudlent. "Anyone who reads it and knows her goes, 'Who the hell wrote this?'" LaCamera said.

"The funny thing is that even someone of [Angelou's] stature, although she speaks eight languages, she's not necessarily very fluent in computerese," said LaCamera. "When she became aware of it, she basically shook her head."

The Twitter account, @mayaangelou, was closed by mid-afternoon.

[Editor's Note: For the record, poetswritersinc, the Twitter account maintained by the nonprofit organization that publishes Poets & Writers Magazine, is in fact written by the staff of Poets & Writers, Inc. Accept no substitutes.]

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