What do Steph Curry, Whoopi Goldberg, and Marion Cotillard have in common with 6 to 20 percent of all Americans?
They're moon landing truthers: that amazing niche of conspiracy theorists who speculate that the July 20, 1969 footage of Apollo 11 landing on the moon was staged in order to intimidate the Russians and that Stanley Kubrick helped. As with flat earthers, Scientologists, and Trump supporters, we're fascinated with people who reject reality with relentless zeal. When struggling writer Bill Kaysing self-published We Never Went to the Moon: America's Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle in 1976, he founded the tribe of moon landing deniers who bring us so much entertainment today.
From actors and athletes to burned out talk show hosts, celebrity deniers gain free publicity, if not thousands of dollars, from their outspoken advocacy of conspiracy theories.
Whoopi Goldberg discusses the faked moon landing conspiracy youtu.be
On The View, Goldberg brought up the common grievance that the American flag Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planted on the moon seemed to be rippling in the wind. But "if there was no air," she asks, "how could it be waving?"
This debunked complaint is about NASA's specially designed flags for space missions, with a horizontal rod inserted in the material to make them extend in an atmosphere-less environment: "The Apollo 11 astronauts had trouble extending the rod all the way, and in still pictures, this creates a ripple effect that makes the flag look like it's waving in the wind. In video images of the flag, you can see it only moves while the astronauts are grinding it into the moon's surface. After the astronauts step away, it stays in the same bent shape because of the partially-extended rod."
Whoopi backtracked after Neil Armstrong passed away in 2012, but Twitter never forgets.
"Did a man really walk on the moon?" the Oscar-winning actress said in an interview with Paris Premiere. "I saw plenty of documentaries on it, and I really wondered. And in any case I don't believe all they tell me, that's for sure." The French actress went on to question what happened during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, namely suggesting that the towers were outdated "money suckers" which were cheaper for the government to destroy than modernize. Other than wearing a NASA trucker hat in public, Cotillard has yet to comment on the interview or the Internet's doubletake in response to her remarks.
Who? If you've ever wasted an entire weekend watching TNT's Law & Order: SVU reruns, then you know that Belzer's character, Detective Munch, makes conspiracy theorists feel well-represented on TV. But the character isn't much of a reach for Belzer. In 2009, the actor published UFOs, JFK & Elvis: Conspiracies You Don't Have to Be Crazy to Believe. He expands on why the moon landing is a "hoax" in between harangues about minutiae on the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated, stating, "I believe that history--past and current--is just a collection of accepted lies." Well, as John Mulaney points out, we live in a world where a believable casting choice is Ice-T playing a detective handling New York's most sensitive cases alongside Detective Munch. So, truth is a fever dream.
MOON LANDING CONSPIRACY THEORY youtu.be
The 31-year old YouTuber has turned to a pseudo-documentary style to successfully tap into a paranoid niche of viewership, earning him 21 million subscribers. All he has to do is play some eerie music and vaguely state that a conspiracy may be possible. He defends its likelihood "because the government fakes so much shit. I mean, we've talked about 9/11, we've talked about crisis actors. Why wouldn't the moon landing be fake? Why wouldn't we fake that, just to win over other countries? It makes you wonder, have we actually ever been to the moon?" That video alone reportedly earned him anywhere between $3,500 and $28,000.
Stephen Curry (maybe)
While guest-appearing on the podcast Winging It, the two-time MVP basketball player asked, "We ever been to the moon," to which teammate Andre Iguodala and the hosts quipped, "Nope!" Curry responded, "They're gonna come get us. I don't think so, either." He later told ESPN that he was joking and his remarks were taken out of context: "Obviously I was joking when I was talking on the podcast. [Then] I was silently protesting how stupid it was that people actually took that quote and made it law as, 'Oh my God, he's a fake-moon-landing truther,' whatever you want to call it, yada, yada, yada. So I was silently protesting that part about it, how the story took a life of its own."
On the bright side, NASA took to Twitter to invite him to tour one of their lunar labs at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Curry was excited to accept their offer: "I am going to educate myself firsthand on everything that NASA has done and shine a light on their tremendous work over the years. And hopefully people understand that education is power, informing yourself is power. For kids out there that hang on every word that we say, which is important, understand that you should not believe something just because somebody says it. You should do your homework and understand what you actually believe."
Curry was then able to design some custom "Moon Landing" sneakers which he autographed and auctioned to fund STEM programs in Bay Area schools. The shoes later sold for $58,100 on eBay.
So happy anniversary, Apollo 11! We'd still love to see the blooper reel of the greatest Stanley Kubrick production of all time.