Bart Winfield Sibrel (born 1964) is a Nashville, Tennessee-based conspiracy theorist and filmmaker who claims that the six Apollo Moon landings between 1969 and 1972 were hoaxes. He has filmed two documentaries on the subject, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Moon and Astronauts Gone Wild, and produced two other related videos.
Dealings with Apollo astronauts
Most astronauts have refused to grant him interviews. The most infamous incident involved Apollo 11 crew member Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the Moon. According to Aldrin, he was lured to a Beverly Hills, California, hotel on September 9, 2002, under the pretext of an interview on space for a Japanese children's television show. When he arrived, Sibrel was there demanding that he swear an oath on a Bible that he had walked on the Moon.
When Aldrin refused, Sibrel called him "a coward, and a liar, and a thief." Aldrin punched Sibrel in the jaw, which was recorded. Sibrel later attempted to use the tape to convince police and prosecutors that he was the victim of an assault. However, it was decided that Aldrin had been provoked, and, based on Sibrel's unfazed, nearly instant reaction to his cameraman, did not actually injure Sibrel, so no charges were filed. Many talk shows aired the clip, making Sibrel the butt of jokes. Sibrel said later that he wrote a letter of apology to Aldrin.
In the 2001 documentary, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Moon, Sibrel made several claims that he believed the Moon landings were faked.
Sibrel displayed footage which he claimed was accidentally sent to him from NASA, which, according to Sibrel, was evidence that the Apollo 11 astronauts were staging shots of the Earth to make it appear that the spacecraft was en route to the Moon when Sibrel believes it was still in low Earth orbit. The "secret" NASA footage Sibrel uses is actually widely available and merely shows the astronauts practicing for an upcoming live telecast.
Sibrel believes that the technology of the United States during the era was behind that of the Soviet Union. He points to a supposed "five-to-one superiority" in man-hours in space held by the Soviets over the US as well as highlighting several Soviet space firsts. The veracity of the "five-to-one" figure has been challenged by Jay Windley. His website, Moon Base Clavius, is dedicated to the debunking of the Apollo Moon landing hoax accusations. Windley states that the Americans had a clear lead in man-hours in space by the time Apollo 11 was launched.
Sibrel has also stated the life-threatening events that occurred during the Apollo 13 mission were actually manufactured by the government to force people to pay attention to the space program.
Jim McDade, writing in The Birmingham News, characterized A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Moon as "full of falsehoods, innuendo, strident accusations, half-truths, flawed logic and premature conclusions." According to McDade, the "only thing new and weird" in the film is that the claim that video views of Earth were actually filmed through a small hole to give the impression that Apollo 11 was not in low earth orbit. "Bart has misinterpreted things that are immediately obvious to anyone who has extensively read Apollo history and documentation or anyone who has ever been inside an Apollo Command Module or accurate mockup," says McDade.
In July 2009, Sibrel, who works as a Nashville taxicab driver, was charged with vandalism when he jumped up and down on the hood of a car owned by a woman with whom he was having a parking dispute. Court documents show he was arrested after the driver refused to pull out of a parking space he wanted. The arresting officer wrote, "A few moments later the parking space in front of the victim opened up and [Sibrel] drove into it and parked." Sibrel "then walked up to the victim's car and jumped onto the hood, and then jumped up and down several times." The report says he caused about US$1,400 worth of damage, after which Sibrel pleaded guilty to vandalism and was placed on probation.
|Year||Film||Director||Producer||Writer||Run time (minutes)||Other||Notes|
|2001||A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Moon||Yes||Yes||Yes||47|
|2004||Astronauts Gone Wild: An Investigation Into the Authenticity of the Moon Landings||Yes||Yes||53|
|Apollo 11 Monkey Business: False Photography Unedited||Yes||108|
|Apollo 11 Post-Flight Press Conference||Yes||83|
- "Ex-astronaut escapes assault charge". BBC News (London: BBC). September 21, 2002. Retrieved August 3, 2007.
- Sibrel, Bart Winfield (Director, Producer) (2004). Astronauts Gone Wild: An Investigation Into the Authenticity of the Moon Landings (DVD). AFTH, LLC. OCLC 70182896.
- "Buzz Aldrin Punches Moon-landing Conspiracy Theorist". The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. October 16, 2002. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
- Richardson, Valerie (July 20, 2009). "Skeptic spreads word of NASA 'folly'". The Washington Times (News World Communications). p. 2 of 3. Archived from the original on July 26, 2009. Retrieved May 28, 2013.
- Tim Binall (November 25, 2006). "BoA:Audio, Season Two: Bart Sibrel". Binall of America (Podcast). http://binnallofamerica.com/boaa11.25.6.html. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
- Sibrel, Bart Winfield (Writer, Producer, Director) (2001). A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Moon (DVD). Fairway, TN: AFTH, LLC. OCLC 426135438.
- Sibrel, Bart (2001). "The Top Ten Reasons Why No Man Has Ever Set Foot on the Moon". Moonmovie.com. Nashville, TN: AFTH, LLC. Archived from the original on March 30, 2001. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
- Windley, Jay. "Clavius: Bibliography - bart sibrel's top fifteen". Moon Base Clavius. Clavius.org. Retrieved August 3, 2007.
- Windley, Jay. "Clavius: Technology - beating the soviets". Moon Base Clavius. Clavius.org. Retrieved May 29, 2013. The relevance of some of the Soviet "firsts" in relation to a landing of the Moon has also been called into question.
- John Moffett (Director, Producer, Writer); Bruce M. Nash (Executive Producer, Writer) (2001). Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon? (Documentary). Hollywood, CA: Nash Entertainment, Inc. OCLC 52473513.
- McDade, Jim (April 1, 2001). "Lunar Lunacy Shooting Down Theories that Apollo Moon Landing was Hoax Conspiracy". The Birmingham News. Retrieved May 17, 2007. Extract of article courtesy of Keith Mayes. Full article available for purchase from the NewsLibrary.com newspaper archive.
- "SibrelAffidavit.pdf" (PDF). New York: WorldNow. Retrieved May 29, 2013. Bart W. Sibrel's February 26, 2009, arrest affidavit for vandalism.
- Williams, Phil (July 27, 2009). "Inside Story: Apollo Conspiracy Theorist Arrested After Tirade". NewsChannel5.com (Nashville, TN: WTVF). Retrieved June 22, 2010.
- Official website Bart Sibrel at Sibrel.com
- "Fox TV and the Apollo Moon Hoax" at Phil Plait's Badastronomy.com
- "Buzz Aldrin Punch" Video of Buzz Aldrin punching Bart Sibrel
- A critique of Bart Sibrel by Keith Mayes.
- Lunar Legacy (2007) is Svector Studios' five-part web video documentary series that disputes Sibrel's claims
- Mad Dug; Anthony Anderson (July 20, 2011). "Houston, Do We Have a Problem?". Pitch This! (Podcast). Season 2. Episode 2. Podbean.com. http://www.podbean.com/podcast-detail?pid=89752. Retrieved May 29, 2013. Bart Sibrel interview.