Re: Eric Allen Bell
Date: August 30, 2019 12:16AM
Sorry for such a late response to this. Honestly, even after his death was confirmed, I had this overwhelming fear that it was all a hoax, so I just stayed quiet for a bit longer.
So I'll start with my involvement with him from the beginning to end.
I met Eric Allen bell in 2010. He was coming around our group, MTRF (Middle Tennesseeans For Religious Freedom), to film a documentary about the mosque getting a new location, and the backlash it was receiving. I was about a year into film school at the time, and after meeting him, he seemed to be on board with MTRF and what we were doing. He invited me out to make me an offer to join his film crew. At the meeting he talked about his huge film background, and how he could mentor me in the industry, and about his film The Bondage and the AAA Actors he worked with. He gave me a copy of the film, and it was legit. So I took the bait and joined his film crew. He promised to pay me for my work, however, after the first day and $100, he said he was unable to pay me for long term, as he hadn't expected the documentary to take this long. He later said he would pay me when he got funding after putting together a rough cut, and then offered me a percentage split on the final film. Being in college and starry eyes, I just said yes to everything.
During the time I worked with him, I became what I thought was his best friend. I slacked off on school, and focused purely on the documentary with him. Spending 10-12 hours a day with him, and seeing him basically daily. He would throw huge parties at his house all the time, and invite people over, but then would pull out his camera during parties and film people. He claimed it was for making memories, but we later learned it was for blackmail to not talk poorly of him. He was very paranoid, and it's hard to discern what was an act, or what was actually just bad mental health. He would call me at 3AM and tell me sometimes that he thought someone was outside his house, casing the place. He would think people were following him. He eventually hired private security for a few months, and bought a wide arrange of "self-defense" tasers/batons etc. and insisted that myself and others close to him had them so that we could defend ourselves.
During the "mentorship" he would tell me how he used to run a Psychic Network, and would train people on how to scam rich hollywood-types. He insisted that he would never do it to anyone who wasn't deserving, and made himself out to be a Robin Hood of sorts. But he told me techniques on how to do fake psychic readings or getting messages from loved ones, and how to keep people on the phone for a long time to get their money. He claims he ran the network and trained people to do it for him now, and that's where most of his income was coming from (I did not know about Renee until she introduced herself to me after he moved away and flipped on everyone).
During the documentary, he got a good number of his interviews by using myself and another staff member (who wishes to not be named/involved) to go in and pretend to be student film-makers and ask questions. He would frequently push me to provoke people at rallies to get them upset to have good sound bytes. And he would sometimes then use those soundbytes as blackmail to get real interviews, with the threat that he'd release their recorded threats instead.
He would also create many fake profiles on social media to infiltrate people's feeds, creating them way in advance and giving them backstories so that they all seemed real. They had profiles/lifespans of many years, making them very believable. He would also buy the domain names for any public official, etc. and variations that he could find, and point them to his documentary. He would frequently make deals with right-wing extremists for interviews, etc. claiming to be with them (which I guess he turned out to actually be). He could bait anyone into saying just about anything he wanted to on camera. He was great at getting the "sound byte" that he wanted from anyone.
After we wrapped production, he moved to edit the film, and within a few weeks, everything changed. It started when he called me up and was like "I think I may have a different opinion on everything now and want to change the direction of the film". I tried to talk him down, but could not. Later he called me with a wild claim that one of our friends had access to one of the oppositions medication information and was telling people what it was (none of this was true). I combatted it, and he quickly brought up an NDA that I signed, and threatened to sue me if I spoke out against him ever. From there the relationship was severed. He put out a trailer for the hate-film, and included my name on it and on IMDB. It was the main thing on my resume, so in any location that I could find it, I would state that I worked on the documentary when it was not a hate-film, and that my involvement stopped the second it turned around. Anytime he saw that posted, he would once again send me a Cease and Desist and threaten legal action. I eventually was able to talk to a lawyer and found out that the NDA I signed was invalid. Still, I laid low because of the threats he would send. At first he would threaten to never pay me, but when I responded and told him that I don't want money from a hate film, he then refused to remove me from the IMDB page, no matter how many requests I sent in. So my name was forever attached to it. This film was never released other than a trailer. I assume so that he never had to actually pay anyone back for all the back-end promises he had made.
When I couldn't get the credit removed, I stopped working in the film industry, as I got tired of having to explain why the film "American Infidel" was what I was "known for". A day before his death I emailed him asking to be removed from the IMDB of American Infidel, only to go look for it and realize that not only was I removed, but the film was removed completely. After hearing of his death, I was conflicted. I had always hoped somewhere in the back of my mind that he would turn out to not be a terrible person. But he was, and it's over now. And that's good.