Artis and Jess: The strangest Catfish yet?

Screen Shot 2013-08-28 at 4.55.32 AM

Nev had injured his foot working out and was on crutches, but he still had to spring to action and prevent a fight at the conclusion of this week’s Catfish. It was a usual Catfish scenario in that there were too many red-flags to mention, but what was really going on was completely unexpected and unprecedented on the show.

Artis is a father in a supposedly loveless relationship who had found affection in a woman named Jess on Facebook who lived only 30 minutes away. They have been talking for six months via Facebook, but never spoke on the phone, much less had a video chat. Even so, Artis described Jess as an “uplifting” person in his life, and was eager to meet her and start a new life.

Nev and Max felt uncomfortable arranging a meeting before Artis told his current girlfriend what was going on, but after he reported back that he had come clean about the situation, they moved forward and contacted Jess via Facebook after attempts to call her failed. She only had one photo on her Facebook account, which turned out to be of a porn star. When they confronted Artis with this information, instead of doubting that she was the girl she said she was, Artis wanted to believe and marveled at all the sexy photos she had not shown him.

Even when it sank in that Jess wasn’t the girl in the photos, Artis was still convinced that he was talking to a lady who could be his new girlfriend. When the person finally showed up to meet Artis, it was an irate dude ready to fight. It seemed obvious from the start that this wasn’t the story of a frustrated or in denial gay man; there was something very strange going on.

What was clear was that Jess, who’s real name is Justin, was agitated and upset, but it wasn’t clear why. For a minute it looked like he was about to physically attack Artis, who was too stunned to even know what to do. Part of the strangeness of Justin’s presentation seemed like an act, but even if it was, why did he do it? Why did he talk to Artis intimately for six months?

When Justin tried to explain himself he was all over the place, but he seemed to be saying that he had created a fake Facebook on a whim, and then made it his mission to catch and punish men who were cheating on their wives and girlfriends. Justin himself had a girlfriend who he said knew all about him relationship with Artis, and that her past bad experience with relationships inspired him to take up this spite-filled hobby.

“My message is, look, you can’t just f**k around on the relationships you’re in.” He said part of his goal was to “get these dudes to leave their steady chicks for me, then reveal my identity.”


Most of the time, though, he says his interactions with men online never went very far or personal like it did with Artis. Later Nev and Max went to Justin’s house to see if they could get a better idea about what was going on, to no avail.

Justin was still hostile, and perplexing. He said that he had been homeless after his father died suddenly, and that his girlfriend helped him and saw something in him that was lovable. He seems to find objection with behaving in a way that would make anyone else like him, and before he sends Nev and Max off because there’s “nothing” they can do for him, Max gives him a piece of advice: “You need to figure out how to like yourself.”

A month after his revelation about Jess/Justin Artis says he’s doing well and is reconciling with his girlfriend. He says their relationship is even better now because they know how to communicate with each other better after he came clean about his online romance and emotional cheating.

web statistics