Kiwi Sends Cryptomundo “Apology To Bigfoot Community”

Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 11th, 2009

The following statement was received from Leigh Hart by Cryptomundo in response to “Kiwi Hoaxes Ohio Bigfoot Conference.” It is being released here, unedited. ~ Loren Coleman

To the Bigfoot community,

Excuse the pun but we seem to have gotten off on the wrong foot.

My intention was never to insult anybody personally while at the Bigfoot conference. I write a weekly column in New Zealand – it is not news or ever meant to be factual, rather humorous.

I accept that many people may have not found this particularly funny but all I was doing was a slice of life piece where those mentioned were a ‘hybrid’, or pastiche of many people I have met over the years and conjured in my mind like the great ‘Dr Gerry Garciamansosin’.

At no time did I have a particular person in mind when writing the column in fact most of them I had made up and written about before in countless other columns about Bigfoot (much to my editor’s dismay).This was an idea that was born from attending a type of event, nothing else, otherwise I would have used photos.

The column was never supposed to be read in the States but granted with the Internet nowadays there is always the chance that it might be. My columns range from writing about Christmas dinners with family, to UFO’s and phone sex, often at the same time. They are never supposed to be particularly credible and the market they are aimed at here in New Zealand is fully aware of that. It was never supposed to undermine the serious research that many researchers are doing. Put it this way: nobody here will be taking it seriously. In fact most of the time the joke is clearly on me, and this is also the case with the TV that I do.

I sincerely apologize if anybody has taken particular offence as that was never the intention and I will endeavor to learn from this experience. For what it is worth we met many fascinating and interesting people at the conference, we very much enjoyed it and thank Don and the team for having us.

Yours sincerely
Leigh Hart

2009/05/11 at 12:13 AM

Loren Coleman Editorial Comment:

Please note, Mr. Hart’s original article mentions people by first name, behavior and/or other alleged identifying traits.

According to the published agenda of the meeting in Ohio, three scheduled speakers are listed: Diane Stocking, Doug Hajicek, and Billy Willard. As it turns out, one additional speaker invited on stage was the eyewitness John Cartwright.

As far as Mr. Hart’s claim in his “apology,” above, that “At no time did I have a particular person in mind when writing the column,” here’s what his column says about three seemingly specific individuals:

(1) “Diane, a ‘tell-it-how-it-is’ female Bigfoot researcher, reminded us that not every broken branch in the woods can be attributed to Bigfoot and that other known animals such as bears also make footprints on the odd occasion.

She was remarkably logical and scientific, but blew all credibility when she admitted she still believed in Bigfoot, although she had never actually seen it herself.

Her credibility was further called into question when, in the early hours, rather than being out on one of the scheduled night hunts, she chose to stay in the Wild Things bar and pashed not one, but two different camouflage-wearing Bigfoot enthusiasts.”

(2) “The keynote speaker for the evening was supposed to be the director of the documentary series Monster Quest, so you can imagine the disappointment when he decided not to show up.

I saw an opportunity, and volunteered to speak.”

(3)“Another speaker hadn’t actually been back in the woods since 1981.

He was clearly emotionally scarred by his ‘encounter’ and had trouble talking about the details without crying, getting feedback from the microphone or talking in a voice that suggested his testicles were being given a powerful foot massage.

This guy was so emotional you would think that rather than just seeing a Bigfoot eating berries in the woods, he had been gang raped by five of them. He also blamed Bigfoot for his overweight condition.”

Mr. Hart must be challenged on his claim that he did not write about a “particular person” in his column. Clearly, his representations are extremely transparent, and his continued extension of this matter by not admitting the damaging nature of his characterizations is indefensible.

To state that “The column was never supposed to be read in the States” verges on the near-idiotic. To think that Americans interested in Sasquatch studies, cryptozoology, and more would not read a report on a just-ended Ohio Bigfoot conference published in a New Zealand newspaper is unbelievable. If it’s not seen does that mean it is all okay? Is that some kind of defense of written defamation in Mr. Hart’s cosmos?

I’ll bet, if I was a gambler, and I hasten to mention I am not, in case this comment might be misunderstood in New Zealand, that we haven’t heard the last of this.


Excellent and middle-of-the-road followup commentaries have been written by these folks at the noted sites.

Frank Lewis at Scene and Heard/Cleveland Scene: “Messin’ With Sasquatch Fans,” May 11, 2009.

DB Donlon at The Blogsquatcher: “An International Incident,” May 11, 2009.

Mark Wallbank at BizarreNZ: “Kiwi ‘comedian’ causes international Bigfoot offence,” May 11, 2009.

Rand “About Fellow Kiwi Leigh Hart and That Bigfoot Conference,” May 12, 2009.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

24 Responses to “Kiwi Sends Cryptomundo “Apology To Bigfoot Community””

  1. MountDesertIslander responds:

    Wow, this is the worst kind of cowardice.

    Leigh, you chose the subject, created the scenario, and milked the characters for your own purposes. PLEASE don’t pretend that you were misunderstood in some fashion. If you write this kind of column then at least stand by your words. There’s no need to hide behind the “I thought publishing 12,000 miles away was enough distance” defense.

    The smug, condescending, elitist tone you set wasn’t by accident. You were calculating each word for maximum effect. Are you now claiming you made up the woman at the bar “pashing” with whomever? Are you representing for your defense that you made up the man becoming emotional after retelling the story of his encounter? Here I thought you were being rather specific by identifying these people as clearly as possible without engaging in libelous activities.

    The bigfoot community is rather familiar with people like you. Every day we meet virulent nonbelievers who think they are smarter than someone who has had an encounter with something unfamiliar to them. The tone taken by these nonbelievers is at best sickening and at worst an indictment of their own narrow minded insecurities. The thing you don’t understand, Leigh, is that these people you attacked are not evil or demented. They are simply trying to understand what they have seen, heard, or found evidence of in the woods. Sure there are charlatans in the community who are scamming for profit. I would dare say you didn’t take on one of the charlatans in your little fable. You were simply content to ridicule something you don’t know about. That something being sincere people who have an honest story to tell. You took the all to familiar easy path.

    In your “apology” you admitted that you are nothing more than a humbug. Again, I would add in your case am elitist, arrogant, condescending, trivial, lazy, mean spirited, cowardly humbug. There’s a great story to be told about these conferences by someone with talent. Clearly, by your own admission, that isn’t you. Have a great day mate.

  2. Creekfreak responds:

    I suggest you get to know some of the people in Bigfoot research before you start making comments about them.

    You have hurt some very good people’s feelings. Not myself, mind you, but others that were there and are struggling with what they have witnessed.

    You may not believe in Bigfoot. That’s fine but some of us have seen it firsthand and face to face. You are not making it any easier to deal with it by putting us down.

    I welcome you to join some forums and get to know us. You will be surprised at the intelligence and dedication we put into this research.

  3. davidk responds:

    This is a classic example of what happens in a country whose closest verifiable encounter with cryptids is… sheep. 😉

  4. wvbig09 responds:

    Creekfreak says: “I suggest you get to know some of the people in Bigfoot research before you start making comments about them”

    I think his type is afraid to get to know more about the people & the phenomenon in general, out of fear they may learn something they can’t so easily dismiss

  5. coelacanth1938 responds:

    Let’s see, Kiwis are slamming us for believing in Bigfoot, but some of them are protesting building highways in certain places in their own country for fear of waking up ‘dragons’.

    What do you expect from a people whose founders killed off all the interesting animals?

  6. odingirl responds:

    I’m hardly a prude when it comes to humor, but if this mocking, hateful blathering is what passes for chuckles in New Zealand, I pity them. Must be nice to have a captive audience on that island that has to endure this man’s ego. Someone send the people of New Zealand a condolence card for putting up with this clown.

    An ‘apology’? It’s just a lukewarm, completely disingenuous exercise in self-justification. Fabulous.

  7. Sergio responds:

    Just another brainless piece of horse dung, who, while pretending he’s a journalist, thinks he’s funny by writing shameful pieces about people who do not have the opportunity to address him after he’s written about them in the most insulting and vile way.

    This guy reminds me of the piece of garbage last year who attended one of the bigfoot conferences only to rain down denigrations later on those who were there. I understand that that guy was nothing but a sleazy porn-screenplay writer (wow what a lofty contribution to society), yet he had the audacity to insult and call others weird while safely behind his keyboard. What a POS.

    I suspect that some of the folks I know who are involved in this pursuit would knock both of these wastes of oxygen on their bottoms in one fell swoop rather easily. But of course, that’s why these bottom feeders act all nice while in attendance; they’re not man enough, nor do they have the intellect to engage in a give-and-take conversation.” Their’s is the kind of conversation that only involves their side, replete with insults and mockery. My guess is that it makes them feel better about their own freakiness to call others freaks.

    In reality, they’re the strange freaks for taking time out and spending their publication’s funds to attend and write about something that they consider so disdainful.

  8. Loren Coleman responds:

    Updates have been added to the main body of this posting, above.

  9. korollocke responds:

    Personally I just ignore this kind of foolishness and press on. Like it or not he is entitled to his thoughts and opinions, sure it was offensive to some, but everything is offensive in some way shape or form to someone. Don’t let it get to you, continue on your path it will pan out and you’ll have the last laugh at the end of it all.

  10. John Cartwright responds:

    This man Mr. Hart is not a nice person and IMO not very funny either. I could be a little biased as I was one of the victims of his attack. I do ask that we refrain from bashing all of New Zealand. I have a great friend and fellow ABS MEMBER there, who I am sure is as upset about this an any of you are. You do not see him blaming the entire USA for Biscardi.

  11. red_pill_junkie responds:

    O the despair of witless columnists, whose only ‘talent’ is to go for the cheap gag that comes from directly insulting people.

    Trouble is, in these PC-conscious times we live in, you can no longer make fun of someone based on their race, creed or sexual orientation, lest your editor will complain of all the hate mail your last piece produced.

    Whatever to do? Oh, how about exploiting the loonies who believe in Bigfoot or Flying Saucers? Yeah! surely those folks are used to it by now, right??

  12. yellow_roast responds:

    Some perspective from here in New Zealand. Leigh Hart is probably the least amusing comedian in our entire country. I dont understand why he has a column in the NZ Herald (our largest paper) but i can only guess it is nepotism or some other favoritism considering he doesnt even rate compared with our many other good comedians. He had his own super lame TV show on, yet Flight Of the Conchords was turned down by our national TV network. Go figure! You may think he is tactless and rude but I think it is safe to assume he really thought he was being funny, a bit like a 5 year old kid with a tennis racket thinking he is a rock star, thats how trite his humour is (a bit like davidk’s reply about about sheep). Leigh Hart is a boring idiot you are really giving him more attention than he deserves, even if his shameless and see-through apology makes him as worthy of scorn as his attempts at humour (yes thats how we spell “humor” here – post colonial queens english and all that).

    The thing that saddens me and made me feel compelled to post is that the replies from several contributers here are hypocritically using the same sort of put down humour they are chastising Leigh for. Certainly seems a bit pig headed (is that a pun on a cryptozoology page…) to me.

    Peace from New Zealand 🙂

  13. Loren Coleman responds:

    I quite agree with yellow roast and I see no reason for people to not be adult about this in your remarks to Mr. Hart.

    I think he’s done much to hang himself, so to speak, and there’s no reason to blame everyone in NZ or the country itself for his behaviors.

    It’s his hoax and not any other Kiwi’s.

  14. Andrew Minnesota responds:

    A weak apology indeed.

  15. PeterOtoole responds:

    Speaking as a comedic minded individual,

    The guy just gave in to his comedic greed. He didn’t think he’d be caught, and he didn’t have sympathy for the victims. He wanted to draw a comic strip, not write an article. He thinks Bigfoot is B.S., but now sincerely feel guilty since people are mad…I think.

    We have a venue for comedic fantasy here in the USA. It’s called The Onion. New Zealand should look into it. No fruit names though, too obvious.

    He just needs a reality check. That’s what happens when the comedian gets away from the live audience.

  16. PeterOtoole responds:

    I feel obliged to leave another comment after reading some of the others.

    People: Being a comedian is a bit like taking LSD and trying to put a puzzle together. You have no outside perspective. You’re constantly pushing yourself to the edge and sometimes fall right over. You can only do what you do, even if a lot of people hate it, even if you hate it. If you offend no one, you will probably find yourself stocking groceries 8 hours a day.

    There is no ‘objectively’ bad comedian, as one of the other comm enters is trying to convince you.

    I’ve never seen the guy, but come on people, use your imagination a little. Can it just be possible that the guy could write those nasty things and then sincerely apologize? Only a comedian has to deal with complexes such as picking on human nature through the guise of a character through the rouse of an article about a Bigfoot conference while skirting the line of shock/amusement.

    Loosen up and understand that a jab from a comedian is pretty much from a plastic gag knife. It’s like getting mad at the clown pulling a hanky out of your ear.

  17. Phoenix xPx responds:

    I’ll play the devil’s advocate here.
    There’s too much “circular analysis”.

    I think he and his style of humor rank between stupid and jerk, but his letter and it’s description of his column are genuine. It seemed enough that he bothered to write back with an explanation\apology without tongue in cheek.

    Yes the column was abusive, and he relishes his put-downs to show himself off (and one detects a hint of that needy Superior Atheist Skeptic chip on his shoulder).

    But, please: Bigfoot Conferences are obscure and this one had all of three scheduled speakers, so this isn’t National News. It was like covering the Annual Arctic Penguin Races.

    His account wasn’t a News Article, just some gonzo jabbering in a “column”. My daily has part-timers covering “they’re repaving my street today” or whatnot.

    He wrote it on the other side of the planet: who’s to guess someone from that conference would ever stumble apon it? Internet or not. I know I miss about 100 countries most days 😉 His boldness grew with great distance.

    The only crimes cited about his letter is that he was too abusive (granted) and he did-too identify his targets; but only by first name and details known only to the attendees, and again, see the above points. Once caught-out about cutting too deep, he tried to unfocus it again, but whatever, it’s a gonzo pastiche. I didn’t detect any repeat put-on, just “Are you kidding? I’m famously not-serious. I’m sorry if you heard it and I and got under your skin”.

    (ok it was a little more than that, seen as he also goofed at the actual conference on your home turf, but only recounted it far away).

    Let’s not think we’re So Serious, or be so defensively sensitive due to the subject matter and media treatment, that this sorry excuse of a clipping ranks with the Bigfoot In My Icebox scandals.

    Patience: they own the check by default but we’ll score the checkmate. The time is ever-shrinking to the day when the entire face > egg > who’s silly now > scene will do an instant global reversal forever 🙂

  18. Sergio responds:

    You’re wrong PeterOtoole. To the people who were there, this was not some innocuous little gag. The dude didn’t pull a hanky out of anyone’s ears. He insulted people. By name. In print. For all the world to see.

    The guy is a jerk.

  19. coelacanth1938 responds:

    Being a comedian does not give you a free pass to spit in somebody’s face and trash their beliefs. I’ve done a little looking around and discovered that he has clips on YouTube. Apparently cryptozoologists aren’t his only targets.
    Leigh Hart is a self-serving scumbag.

  20. nzcryptozoologist responds:

    I would sincerely like to apologise with a disreputable behaviour of my fellow countrymen. With people like this and the media is no wonder the cryptozoology does not get a fair go in this country and is somewhat treated as a joke.

    About 95% of New Zealanders don’t realise that we do have our own cryptids, and it is closed minded back water supposed humorists like this individual who are only too happy to see it stay that way.
    I can only apologise and hang my head in shame that someone from my country would be so idiotic.
    I can genuinely assure you there are some of us here in New Zealand they do take cryptozoology extremely seriously and our research means a hell of a lot to us, I have been researching the past 30 years, and unlike in other countries we have a major uphill job as idiots like this make it harder for our research to be taken seriously and for us to let the people know that there is an important part of the heritage and national identity is being kept hidden from them. I feel quite sure this i probably didn’t even know New Zealand had any cryptids.

    My sincerest apologies and please do not based us all with the same brush as this fool.

    Tony L.

  21. Rowlf responds:

    I second Tony’s apology. Don’t judge 4 million people (and at least several cryptozoologists) by the misguided remarks of one comedian. That Guy (as his on-screen persona is called) is our equivalent of Borat.

  22. PeterOtoole responds:

    Sergio, I agree. What he did was wrong. I said he was being ‘greedy.’ At the same time, I believe him when he says he’s sorry. It really is possible for a comedian to brutally attack someone with the point being humor, not harm. I can only imagine how the blows of a shock comedian must feel to the victims, but the best thing they can do is laugh it off and not take it personally. Yes, yes, he personally attacked them, but that was a technicality caused by the medium; a supposed news article. The guy does not want people to be hurt, but I will say again, he screwed up mightily in his execution. If someone wants to sew him, go right ahead.

  23. mystery_man responds:

    I honestly do not understand why so many New Zealanders are apologizing for the behavior of their own countrymen. It is unnecessary. There is no way anyone can hold a whole population responsible for the foolish deeds of an individual, and anyone who did is as out of line as Mr. Hart himself. You are not to blame in the slightest bit.

    This guy was a bit of a jerk. There are people like this everywhere. If the countrymen of every knucklehead who did something like this had to apologize for every time they did it, we’d never get anything done because we’d all be apologizing 24 hours a day.

    New Zealanders are in no way, shape, or form responsible for this. I’m happy that Mr. Hart was big enough to give his apology, and that is the only one needed here. Please, any New Zealanders here, you do not have to apologize on the behalf of your whole country for the misguided actions of Mr. Hart.

    Thank you.

  24. babelogue responds:

    For people so offended by the insulting, bigoted style of his humour, there did tend to be a little bit of racism towards the New Zealand country as a whole, here. Much respect to the people that realised the entire country is not to blame for one man’s insolence…

    I am from New Zealand, I don’t find this man funny nor do I know anyone that does. Beats me as to why he has a column in the Herald and a TV show. Could be the same reason FOX news still has a huge majority following…

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