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August 01, 2017

Did flat-earth site decline $50K offer to run astronaut documentary ad?

It’s been 36 days since we last brought you a report from the front lines in the battle pitting Flat Earthers against those who believe our planet is round. Much has happened in those seven weeks and a day.

We’ve learned that middle-school science teachers worry that students are siding with a basketball player who falls into the former camp over established theories that maintain the latter.

And there was some heated scuttlebutt about Facebook banning flat-earth content, which it apparently will not. (Fake news alert!)

Plus, the Flat Earth International Conference, scheduled for November 9 and 10 in North Carolina, is already sold out.

And that Marisa Keeland, the woman who funded a flat-earth billboard in Tulsa, Okla., was badly injured in a car wreck on July 4.

What hasn’t garnered any headlines in that time is the story of how “Flat Earth Conspiracy Theorists Reject $50,000 Offer,” which is the subject line of an email I received last week

It revolves around the documentary “250 Miles Up,” which apparently delves into the story of NASA astronaut Linda Godwin and appears slated for a September release. (I say apparently because the trailer on Facebook is just a 49-second video of a rocket launch.)

Per the movie poster, it is an “Evermind Films” production (and a IMDb search reveals that this is the only entry on Evermind Films’ filmography).

Two weeks ago, a write-up in the St. Louis Post Dispatch about the film noted that writer and director Morgan Johnson hopes his film will be screened at NASA's "CineSpace" film festival.

The writer of that contributed piece, Steven Tallo, dropped a line to let me know there was more to the story. Like, much more.

To wit:

Filmmaker Morgan Johnson trolled the “Number 1” flat earth organization in the world.

The Indonesian based conspiracy group is the most well known on the planet according to google trends. They call themselves "The Flat Earth 101 Channel" and have over 50,000 followers on social media.

Johnson offered them a whopping $50,000 USD to advertise his NASA related documentary “250 Miles Up” on their website. But the reality was that the film poster would be a bit too offensive for flat earth believers.

Johnson frustratingly mentioned, “I couldn’t believe groups with this belief still existed this day in age. Even some really famous people believe this (not the most educated mind you). I’m just really irritated that they didn’t accept my offer. It would have been a win win for both of us!”

He says he will stay positive in look for more open-minded media sites to promote his film. But until then all we can wonder is how in the world are there flat earth conspiracies in the year 2017? 

Well, that’s surely some top-notch trolling. (To be fair, though, the 50,000 followers estimate sold them a little short. Flat Earth’s YouTube page boasts of 93,300 subscribers and more than 10.8 million views – with an additional 11,625 members in a closed Facebook group.)

I'd hoped to speak to a representative of the Indonesia-based Flat Earth 101 Channel about this offer, and the reasoning behind turning it down. Alas, they did not respond to a pair of message sent on Tuesday morning. If they do respond, however, this story will assuredly be updated.