Everyone is familiar with an insurance company refusing to pay a claim. But what do you do when your post-Rapture pet insurance falls through?
There was a story going around last year about Bart Centre’s Eternal Earth-Bound Pets rescue. In a story that was just too easy for many media outlets to re-report, Centre claimed to have made at least $35,000 by taking on about 260 clients. After, the Mayan apocalypse was approaching, and that was if we survived beyond Harold Camping’s predicted end of the world.
No word on After the Rapture Pet Care’s BBB rating. But it turns out that Centre’s Eternal Earth-Bound Pets was nothing but a fabrication. A big hoax that fooled a lot of reputable media outlets (see, for example, here and here and here and here).
Religion News Service has the story:
Bart Centre, who lives in New Hampshire, came clean after the state Insurance Department delivered a subpoena because he appeared to be engaged in “unauthorized business of insurance” through his Eternal Earth-Bound Pets business.
“Eternal Earth-Bound Pets employs no paid rescuers,” Bart Centre wrote in a blog post on March 16. “It has no clients. It has never issued a service certificate. It has accepted no service contract applications nor received any payments—not a single dollar—in the almost three years of its existence.”
Centre’s business was reported widely by Religion News Service, NPR, The Washington Post, The Associated Press, CBS News, the BBC, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Huffington Post and other media outlets in the past year.
I can’t believe anyone was surprised that Centre’s business was not real. The truly shocking thing is that no one really did the diligence to smoke out this phony in the first place. How, without actually talking with a single client, did NPR originally report this “story”?
Right now Eternal Earth-Bound Pets has contracts with 259 clients — that means roughly $35,000 in contracts — and is set to rescue dogs, cats, a cockatoo and even a horse in Montana in the event of the Rapture.
Centre assures potential clients that his staff will still be on Earth after doomsday by testing employees to confirm that they are Atheists. How does he do that? Well, he just asks them to commit blasphemy.
“They are all very willing to do that. And that confirms that even in the absurdly remote chance that we are wrong and the believers are right, our rescuers are going nowhere.”
It seems like someone cut a few corners on this story. Even worse is how this story was re-reported by numerous media outlets without anyone raising the authenticity question. How was it that no one had their BS radar working well enough to detect this hoax?
(Hat tip: Sarah Pulliam Bailey)