August 7, 2013
A Natural News investigation has been conducted into the anti-Monsanto movie named “Santo,” which has garnered an enormous amount of attention over the past few weeks. (Click here to see the movie preview.)
You may be aware that the movie and the filmmaker have been under fire for the past two weeks, with accusations flying around social media that the film was a bogus project run by a non-existent person. The Twitterverse and FB have exploded with these accusations, and there has been considerable debate within the movement over this film. Even here at Natural News, we inadvertently contributed to the suspicion with a couple of paragraphs I wrote in a story about “false gurus.”
As part of the investigation to get to the bottom of this, I spoke with the filmmaker, the filmmaker’s legal counsel, the founder of March Against Monsanto, a well-known anti-GMO activist who is contributing to the film (see below), and several other individuals with firsthand knowledge. I recorded an interview with the filmmaker (stage name “Robert Everest”) that you can also hear below. Or go straight to the interview posted on YouTube at:
Victimized by an elaborate social media smear campaign
While I can’t be 100% certain of anything these days, based on our investigation I can say with a high degree of certainty that Santo appears to have been the victim of a highly organized, elaborate disinfo scheme that sought to destroy the film’s credibility and thereby deny it grassroots funding.
The filmmaker probably made the suspicions worse in three ways, according to my investigation and based on the interviews with multiple people who have firsthand knowledge of all this:
1) The filmmaker has a bit of a callous, confrontational communications style, which actually might make him the perfect filmmaker to tackle the subject of Monsanto. But it also rubbed some people the wrong way.
2) He used a new stage name in order to protect his identity, causing immediate suspicion about his identity and his background. He also refused to release his real name, which in my view is quite understandable given the very real threats that now accompany anyone who chooses to be a highly visible anti-GMO activist. Nevertheless, the anti-GMO community is rightly suspicious of “new faces” who start asking for big donation dollars.
3) He appeared to be somewhat aggressive in asking for donations for the film, a fact that I think is mostly due to his passion for the project being driven by the relatively recent cancer death of his own mother, a victim of the cancer establishment which operates in much the same way as the biotech industry. (He publicly disclosed this information in the interview, so I’m not violating his privacy by revealing this.)
For one reason or another, Robert Everest managed to ruffle a few feathers in the industry… or at least raise some red flags. This seems to have been seized on by pro-Monsanto opportunists (who may actually be hired negative P.R. trolls) to sow distrust and suspicion about the film.
The ultimate goal of this “paranoia campaign” was to halt donation funding for the film and hopefully see the film fail (thereby helping the biotech industry avoid taking another bullet in terms of public perception).
The campaign very nearly succeeded. But today I decided I needed to talk with the filmmaker directly, so I acquired his phone number through a well-connected colleague and contacted him for a conversation. From there, the real story started to unfold — a story that has now been largely substantiated as you can see here.
I was also able to acquire some documentation supporting the validity of the filmmaker and his fundraising efforts. The image below shows an email from the IndieGoGo fraud investigator who examined the identity of Robert Everest and concluded he was legit. This IndieGoGo fraud investigator, I learned, is a former Wells Fargo fraud investigator who joined IndieGoGo in May of this year and oversee’s IndieGoGo’s highest-complexity fraud cases. He has substantial knowledge and experience in detecting money laundering schemes. His name is Matt Canty.
The fact that Matt Canty gave the Santo film fundraising effort a thumbs up is significant. It means that the accusations that the Santo filmmaker was a “fake person” using a “fake company” to promote a “fake film” were almost certainly false, unless you believe that Matt Canty is a terrible fraud analyst (which is highly unlikely). In reality, the filmmaker was a real person using a stage name — a common practice in the movie and film industry.
Here’s an image of the confirmation statement from IndieGoGo:
March Against Monsanto supports the film
As part of my investigation, I also spoke with Tami Canal, founder of the March Against Monsanto. On the recording, she told me the following:
I think that it’s shocking how more people haven’t yet gotten behind it in the GMO-free coalition, because I really feel Robert is on our side, and we have this forum to really reach the masses. I think more people should get on board with the film. I really support it. We all need to support it. Nobody else is coming forth with a plan to reach the masses in such a poetic way. This could be the thing that really catapults the cause… and this is a great thing to bring awareness. – Tami Canal, founder of March Against Monsanto
I also spoke with Pamm Larry, the originator of Prop 37 in California (the GMO labeling bill that narrowly failed last year). She confirmed her optimism for the film and also confirmed that she is contributing to the film and hopes to see it receive enough support to become a success.
I also spoke with Robert’s attorneys in California who have promised to provide additional documentation that we may release to the public in the next day or so. Through an old journalism trick I learned from colleagues, I was also able to 100% confirm that the attorney I spoke to is not an actor but is legitimately a California-licensed practicing attorney for a legitimate law firm.
If Robert had been scamming me, I would have caught him in multiple lies through this due diligence process, but that never happened. My investigation revealed, time and time again, that Robert was telling the truth. Unless he is some sort of spooky NSA operative with a massive secret infrastructure backing him up in an effort to destroy Monsanto, there’s no way he could have faked all the things I checked out. The only reasonable conclusion from all this is that the guy seems, by all accounts, to be legit. Therefore, the accusations against him were without basis.
I’ve decided to donate to the film
Here’s my summary of all this: The bottom line is that the Santo film appears to be quite real. The filmmaker is real and has a substantial, genuine history of filmmaking and other talents in the film industry. While I can’t personally guarantee any film is going to get made, I can tell you that from my investigation on this, the accusations against the Santo filmmaker appear to be utterly false and fabricated.
That being said, yes, “Robert Everest” is a blunt speaker who may come off as callous to some. He has a kind of “bulldog” attitude and communications style, so he’s not going to win any popularity awards across the industry. He may, however, turn out to be a highly effective filmmaker.
While I can’t tell you what to do with your money, I’ve decided to personally donate to Robert’s film project at the IdieGoGo.com page:
I’ve also informed Robert that there will be a LOT of scrutiny surrounding him and his film, and that we want to see regular updates and video teasers as production gets under way.
Also see the March Against Monsanto FB page at:
BTW, the anti-GMO community really needs to come together in unity if we hope to achieve victory against GMOs.
This article was posted: Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 11:54 am