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Why did Buzz Aldrin Punch Bart Sibrel?

Culture | March 7, 2018

Pushing The Boundaries Lunar Module pilot Edwin E. Aldrin Jr on board the Lunar Module during the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission, 20th July 1969. (Photo by Neil Armstrong/Space Frontiers/Getty Images)

September 12, 1962 marked the date that (then) President Kennedy delivered a speech to more than 35,000 people gathered at Rice University in Houston. This dated also marked the beginning of a new era in the “space race” with the Soviet Union. The passionate and stirring speech was quite a defining moment for his presidency and the American people as well as the entire world.

There is an age old controversial history of the “space race” between the United States and the Soviet Union.

“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard,” Kennedy said, adding that the United States had no intention of being left behind in the “space race” with the Soviet Union. He passionately promised that by the end of the decade, an American would be the first to step on the Moon.

About seven years later, Neil Armstrong stepped out onto the Moon. This mission brought a significant victory in the competition for technological dominance over the Soviet Union.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin walked on the surface of the Moon during Apollo 11.

It’s now been almost 50 years since Apollo 11 first landed on the Moon. That being said, there has long been a theory that the reported Moon landing and subsequent Moon walk was a hoax. Still today, many people refuse to believe that the landing was real. In addition, many conspiracy theories about this controversial event have come to light, with most of them claiming that the United States government had pulled the wool over the world’s eyes in an effort to “save face” with the Soviets.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin

Notwithstanding the fact that over 10,000 photos of the first ever Moon landing were taken and made public, the authenticity of the “greatest achievement of mankind” still has been questioned by countless people and nations. Conspiracy theorists have surmised that the world of Hollywood aided NASA in making possible the biggest hoax in history. Often, it has been noted that there were many peculiarities of the documented feat, such as the waving flag, lighting irregularities, lack of stars and the duplicate backdrop.

Bart Sibrel became widely known as the “moon-landing denier.”

Sibrel was an individual who took the notion of the conspiracy theory to an unmatched and very extreme level. It has been well documented that Bart Sibrel is probably the most infamous of all of the moon-landing naysayers. Sibrel was, and is, a controversial documentary filmmaker and writer. He is staunchly convinced that the CIA orchestrated the controversial landing on the Moon.

Until this very day, Bart Sibrel is positive that no human being has ever set foot on the Moon. He has devoted many hours of work producing documentary films on this very subject including, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Moon” (2001) and “Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon?” (2001).

These films, however, did not bring Bart Sibrel anywhere near the amount of attention and notoriety as did the altercation with Buzz Aldrin.

Before this incident, Sibrel interviewed Buzz Aldrin in a hotel room, that was shown in Sibrel's film "Astronauts Gone Wild." During the interview,  Sibrel confronted Aldrin with a videotape and according to Sibrel contained newly discovered footage from the Apollo 11 mission.  Aldrin replied: "Well, you’re talking to the wrong guy! Why don’t you talk to the administrator at NASA? We were passengers, we're guys going on a flight."

Jim McDade, who wrote 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."  McDade also wrote that 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.

Bart Sibrel gained national attention when he was punched in the face by Buzz Aldrin during a heated discussion concerning the moon landing.

Astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong in NASA’s training mockup of the Moon and lander module. Conspiracy theorists say that the films of the missions were made using sets similar to this training mockup.

Buzz Aldrin, who was reportedly the second man to step on the Moon behind Neil Armstrong, was not the first person to be harassed by Sibrel. Sibrel was also known for ambushing other Apollo astronauts over the years. He even made demands that they swear on the Bible that they walked on the Moon; all while he would film them. But this time, things ended up badly for him.

It was September 2002, and Buzz Aldrin, accompanied by his stepdaughter, was just arriving at a hotel in Beverley Hills, California, where he was about to give an interview for a Japanese educational program. Bart Sibrel took the opportunity to up outside the hotel. Needless to say, a confrontation ensued.

Buzz Aldrin

There is a short video clearly documenting that it didn’t take Sibrel long before he started his usual routine of harassing Apollo crew members. As he had previously asked other Apollo astronauts to do, he insisted that Aldrin swear on the Bible about the moon-walk. His demand was less than cordial and polite.

In audio from the video, Sibrel can be clearly heard calling Aldrin and a liar. He further went on to accuse him of accepting a payday for something he claims Aldrin didn’t do. The 72-year-old Aldrin responded by hitting Sibrel in the face.

That, my friends, is why Buzz Aldrin punched Bart Sibrel in the face!

The violent altercation was investigated by the police after the conspiracy theorist filed a lawsuit. Charges were later dropped after witnesses told the police that Sibrel provoked Aldrin by aggressively poking him with a Bible.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who spent nearly 300 hours in space, is revered as one of the most popular astronauts in history. Prior to becoming the second man to walk on the Moon, Aldrin served in the United States as a military fighter pilot and completed 66 F-86 combat missions during the Korean War.

As for Bart Sibrel, he has some things to work on. Mainly, Sibrel needs to work a little (or a lot) harder to prove that the moon landing was a hoax. The fact is that NASA released thousands of photos from the Apollo moon mission in support of the historic event. Next, Bart Sibrel could most definitely benefit from some training (or at least a refresher course) on social interaction and interpersonal communication skills.

While reasonable people everywhere have considered the altercation between Buzz Aldrin and Bart Sibrel, it is widely thought that Sibrel stepped way out of bounds and made a fool of himself, many times over. That being said, by harassing Aldrin, as well as other astronauts, he may have achieved exactly what he was aiming for… ATTENTION!

Comically, it has been said that, “harassing Aldrin might have helped him see some of the stars supposedly missing in the photos.”

Tags: 2002 | Buzz Aldrin | NASA | The 2000s

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Rebeka Knott


Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.