David Icke has long used anti-Semitic material such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to support his conspiracy theories about Reptilians, but his high wire act balancing crazy alien claims against an undercurrent of anti-Semitism has cost him. According to a press release from Canadian human rights lawyer Richard Warman, Icke has settled a libel suit for $90,000 (Canadian), with stores that carried his book Children of the Matrix (2001) paying an additional $120,000. Warman had sued Icke and several bookstores that carried his work, alleging that Icke had defamed him by alleging that Warman was seeking to suppress Icke’s “exposure” of satanic ritual child abuse. Icke’s attack on Warman followed Warman’s efforts to expose anti-Semitic, racist, and discriminatory material in Icke’s work.
While Warman painted the settlement as a victory that vindicated him and cleared his reputation, the upshot is that the settlement prevents Icke’s work from being analyzed and judged in court.
Icke is not the only conspiracy theorist to have been accused of promoting anti-Semitism under the cover of space aliens or the occult. The German author Jan Van Helsing (a.k.a. Jan Udo Holey) also draws on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and other anti-Semitic works, and he has been convicted in France of inciting racial hatred. His books have been banned in several European countries as a result.
The settlement, while large, will not badly hurt Icke, whose financial empire places him in a suspiciously similar category to the Jewish-Reptilian bankers he despises. The book in question sold more than 55,000 copies, according to Warman, generating at least tens of thousands in royalties. (If he received 10% of the cover price, a standard royalty, he stood to make somewhere between $75,000 and $120,000.) A single stage show in Time Square in 2011 brought in a gross of £94,500 ($140,800) in ticket sales, according to the Daily Mail. Keep in mind that Icke had a large number of books in print and has held much larger stage shows around the world—not to mention his pricey line of David Icke merchandise and the premium memberships he offers to his website. He could probably suffer a libel settlement every couple of years without noticing.
Well, that was depressing.
As a palate cleanser, I thought I’d offer a little more discussion of some of Jacques Vallée’s and Chris Aubeck’s crappy scholarship in Wonders in the Sky (2009). Even though they have a major publisher (Penguin) and, for Vallée, international respect, it’s at least satisfying to see that they lack even basic understanding of their own work, and that their publisher simply didn’t care about the quality of the book. Remember, Penguin described the book as “one of the most ambitious works of paranormal investigation of our time, […] written with rigor.” (Disclosure: Penguin is now part of Penguin Random House, which distributes my Cult of Aliens Gods internationally on behalf of Prometheus Books.)
This time let’s look at the pair’s presentation of two different versions of a passage from Gaimar’s History of the English (lines 5359-5374), whose bibliography they mightily misunderstand:
The two authors then identify the Hardy translation as the “original account,” not recognizing that both translations are renderings of Gaimar’s original Norman French work, itself a translation in verse of Old English originals such as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. That’s why it’s especially hilarious that they conclude their discussion by asserting that the event was “also mentioned by Geoffrey Gaimar in Lestoire des Engles solum la Translacion Maistre Geffri Gaimar, a 12th century manuscript.” They failed to recognize that this wasn’t a separate book but rather is the modern title of the Norman French manuscript that Hardy and Stevenson translated! In fact, the title they give is the title of Hardy’s edition of the work! They don’t understand this because they know the Hardy translation only from a 1937 excerpt included in a reference work on meteorology by C. E. Britton.
The parallel passage in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle fails to mention the comet, as the authors discuss from the 1937 text. This suggests that it is a fictitious interpolation. But because the authors don’t understand that Gaimar was translating and versifying the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, this conclusion escapes them.
To my interest, the most unusual thing about Gaimar is that he chose to make the Argonauts the opening act in his history of England, though sadly that part of the text does not survive.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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