By Tim Binnall
A $10,000 bet between two childhood friends in New Zealand over whether or not the Earth is flat allegedly led to one of the men threatening to kill the other with a crossbow unless he honored the weird wager. The bizarre dispute reportedly began back in January when Flat Earth enthusiast Louie Lanz and his friend Jamie Sutherland met up for dinner. At some point during the get-together, the controversial conspiracy theory came up in conversation and Lanz indicated that he was a strong believer in the idea.
It would seem that this sparked something of a debate between the two friends which culminated with Lanz betting Sutherland $10,000 that the Earth is flat. A few weeks later, the two ran into each other at a gas station and, the Flat Earther claims, things took a very troubling turn. According to Lanz, Sutherland stormed up to him and demanded the $10,000 that he believed he was owed and warned him that "if you don't pay it, I'll get a crossbow, I'll shoot you and your father, put you in the trunk and they'll never see you again."
Although Lanz was uncertain as to how serious Sutherland was about the alleged threat, he subsequently told his father about the matter and his dad was, we imagine, not too thrilled about being included in the entire strange affair. For their own safety, the pair say that they decided to report the situation to the authorities, which is how the case wound up in court this past week. Although he expressed regret that things had gotten litigious, Lanz mused, in what may be the understatement of the year, "when someone threatens to kill you with a crossbow, it's quite concerning."
At a hearing to resolve the matter, Lanz insisted that the bet had been a joke all along and that he harbored no ill will towards his friend, instead simply wishing that they could put the whole Flat Earth fiasco behind them. While Sutherland denied the allegation that he threatened Lanz, he stopped short at calling off the wager. To that end, his lawyer lectured Lanz that "in the real world, your statements have consequences, as opposed to the fringe world that you live in on the internet" and declared in no uncertain terms that his client "wants his money."
Unfortunately for Sutherland, the judge presiding over the hearing saw things differently and called a meeting between the two men to mediate the matter. Coming out of the conversation, the case was dismissed and Sutherland apologized to Lanz for the incident at the gas station. He also indicated that he's given up on pursuing the $10,000 from the wager. Time will tell if the two can manage to make amends following the dispute or if the wildly out of hand argument over the Flat Earth theory wound up foiling their friendship for good.