Former "Star Trek" star George Takei hired a ghostwriter to pen the pithy, humorous Facebook posts that attracted millions of followers and helped the actor supercharge his career, a media blogger reported last week.
Takei, 76, has been paying comedy writer Rick Polito $10 a pop to come up with jokes and posts for his Facebook page,
according to blogger Jim Romenesko. Takei's page boasts 4.18 million follows, and his posts receive tens of thousands of "likes" and shares a day.
"Even at $10 a joke it still feels like a validation
to see so many people reacting to my humor," Romenesko quoted Polito as saying. "I have written jokes that got 10 likes per second for hours. The power of George is unbelievable. His fans are a viral army. He may not be a stockholder, but he owns Facebook."
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The admission shocked Takei's loyal fan base, who were disappointed to hear that the man who rose to fame as Hikaru Sulu on "Star Trek" was not actually behind the posts they looked forward to each day.
"Was it naive of me to think that George Takei was actually writing
all this stuff?" one person posted on BuzzFeed. "I feel duped and sad, and also silly."
"This is bull—," another commented. "Totally lost respect for both of you."
Takei issued an email statement to Wired about the alleged Facebook ghostwriter.
"What is this hoo-ha about my FB posts?"
he wrote. "I have Brad [Altman], 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."
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Polito later claimed he felt guilty about revealing himself as Takei's ghostwriter, and he reportedly sent a letter of apology to the actor and his husband.
"I wrote an apology to George and Brad and their guy said he'd pass it on," Polito told Romenesko. "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."
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