'Star Trek' star, scientist explain participation in bizarre documentary

Actor Kate Mulgrew and prominent physicist Lawrence Krauss seem to be as puzzled as we are that they ended up in a documentary arguing that the Earth is the center of the universe.

Michelle Starr Science editor
Michelle Starr is CNET's science editor, and she hopes to get you as enthralled with the wonders of the universe as she is. When she's not daydreaming about flying through space, she's daydreaming about bats.
Michelle Starr
3 min read


No matter what science has to say, there are always going to be people out there with crazy theories about how everything works and how the Earth is a flat planet orbited by the sun. (We particularly like the theory that the universe is inside out.)

Usually our response is to marvel at the sheer strangeness and move on, but when "Star Trek" Captain Janeway -- as well as prominent thinkers such as Lawrence Krauss, Michio Kaku, Max Tegmark, Bernard Carr, Julian Barbour, and a whole bunch more -- appear in a documentary promoting geocentrism (the idea that the Earth is the centre of the universe), something seems a little off.

"The Principle," it turns out, is the work of one Stellar Motion Pictures, a production company without a Web site that we could find, and headed up by one Robert Sungenis, Holocaust denier and owner of Web site Galileo Was Wrong.

And as it turns out, at least two of the people making appearances in the film say they were unaware of the film's content -- or their own involvement. Mulgrew, who narrated the film, released a statement on Facebook denying that she holds geocentric views, or that she knew what the documentary was about.

"I am not a geocentrist, nor am I in any way a proponent of geocentrism," Mulgrew wrote. "More importantly, I do not subscribe to anything Robert Sungenis has written regarding science and history and, had I known of his involvement, would most certainly have avoided this documentary. I was a voice for hire, and a misinformed one, at that. I apologize for any confusion that my voice on this trailer may have caused."

Whether this means Mulgrew did not do her research about the content of the documentary -- a step proven vitally important by Chris Morris' excellent current affairs parody "Brass Eye"-- or was deliberately misled about the film is not clear from the statement, but she is not the only one to have stepped forward.

In a post on Slate titled "I Have No Idea How I Ended Up in That Stupid Geocentrism Documentary," Lawrence Krauss explained that his involvement, too, was involuntary.

"I have no recollection of being interviewed for such a film, and of course had I known of its premise I would have refused," he said. "So, either the producers used clips of me that were in the public domain, or they bought them from other production companies that I may have given some rights to distribute my interviews to, or they may have interviewed me under false pretences, in which case I probably signed some release. I simply don't know."

Krauss points out that the best option when confronted with science-deniers such as Sungenis is to ignore them, but when one unethically hijacks the reputations of scientists who would normally not have anything to do with the subject in a way that could both damage those reputations and trick viewers into credulity, it's worth drawing attention to.

"I recommend not wasting time watching it. If you haven't heard about it, as I expect most people haven't, then you are losing nothing by not knowing it," Krauss wrote. "If others bring up the film, the best thing we can do is tell them to not to waste their time or money either watching it or talking about it. Maybe then it will quickly disappear into the dustbin of history, where it belongs."

(Source: Crave Australia)