Art News

Gaia Settles Million-Dollar Lawsuit Against Filmmaker Patty Greer

Patty Greer found her calling making films about crop circles.
Patty Greer found her calling making films about crop circles. Crop Circle Films
A year after Boulder-based Gaia filed suit against Patty Greer in the District Court of Boulder County, the self-proclaimed Netflix of spiritual films has settled with the filmmaker.

Over the past decade, Greer created eight documentaries and won five EBE Awards at the International UFO Congress Convention. Her most recent film, 2016’s Crop Circle Diaries, looks for plasma energy, super seeds, and binary-encoded messages in the United Kingdom. A vigorous and passionate spirit, Greer previously ran vintage clothing store Golden Oldies on Pearl Street in Boulder and co-founded Coupe Studios.

Gaia got its start as the Gaiam yoga company founded by Jirka Rysavy, a Czech immigrant who moved to Boulder in the 1980s. Gaiam sold its interest in yoga to Sequential Brands Group in 2016 for $167 million and rebranded itself as Gaia, with a goal of focusing on digital content streaming.

Today Gaia has a collection of more than 8,000 "consciousness expanding videos" streamed by nearly 500,000 members around the world. It bought distribution rights to four of Greer’s films through 2021 for $10,000.

In its lawsuit filed on August 6, 2018, and then refiled on December 27, Gaia claimed that starting in September 2017, “Greer developed a vendetta against Gaia in response to the public’s lack of interest in her films, the absence of royalties she earned, and her inability to come up to an agreement with Gaia to terminate the distribution contract.”

The lawsuit presented several videos to support Gaia's allegations, including "Gaia TV Imploding, What's Next?" produced by Business Game Changers creator Sarah Westall. Featuring Greer alongside "American alchemist" Laura Eisenhower, the videos discuss an infiltration of Gaia programming by satanists and reptilians.

Greer has long claimed that she was only reporting what she heard. But when she last spoke with Westword in December, she was beginning to wonder whether the whole thing was a hoax. “Why, why did they set me up?” she asked. “I'm sorry, but it looks like to me like I got slandered, because I didn't say those things about the people at the company. I didn't know these things, but the letters that were sent to me from the GEM group said ‘help us.’”

The allegations that Gaia was engaging in satanic rituals came from coded emails signed #GEM, or the Gaia Employee Movement, and a leaked resignation letter attributed to spiritualist David Wilcock, who'd worked on Gaia's original "Ancient Civilizations" series and said he did not take kindly to the show's "polite view of Luciferianism" in a post-Pizzagate world.

Although he never responded to press inquiries, Wilcock published an apology in February, claiming his private letter “was taken out of context by some in our community who made sweeping conclusions about what it said, and turned them into malicious accusations they directed against Gaia. These accusations are false and without merit.”

“I do not know who GEM was, and I have no evidence of who they may be,” Wilcock's apology continues. “As far as I suspect, there are no employees within Gaia who are involved in this, or who had anything to do with it.”

This summer, Greer posted her own apology to Gaia on cropcircle, part of a settlement agreement that both she and Gaia decline to discuss. Gaia withdrew its suit against Greer in July, and the judge canceled the trial set for early 2020.

In her apology, Greer says that "many of those postings were critical of Gaia and its employees, and were either based on my own opinion or information I received from various third-parties (sometimes anonymously). Because I was ultimately unable to corroborate or confirm the information — which Gaia believed to be untrue and unfounded, and which Gaia vehemently denied at all times — I agreed to remove the postings."

Greer has now removed all of her content pertaining to Gaia and GEM. The mysterious Fade to Light Blog, written under the name Thomas Crown, has also vanished. But Sarah Westall’s videos remain in place, as do pages of Reddit rumors.

“Certain UFO people always have their nemesis,” says Tim Crawford, the creator of UFOTV. Crawford says he also butted heads with Greer when he distributed her first film, The Wake Up Call: Anybody Listening? in 2008.

“Crop-circle films make up some of the most beautiful films, from a production standpoint," he says. "But they don’t sell well, and you can’t fight city hall."

Though it does not spread as quickly as the conspiracy theories that sprout between sentences, the truth is always out there...even if it's sometimes difficult to find.
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Amanda Pampuro cut her teeth reporting for the Mariana’s Variety and is now the Denver correspondent for Courthouse News. When she’s not freelancing or writing fiction, she enjoys making slightly-burnt baked goods.
Contact: Amanda Pampuro