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Guy Claims He Helped Plan Balloon Boy Hoax

10/17/2009 8:25 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

A man who claims he once worked for Richard Heene says Heene was obsessed with becoming famous, wanted to get his own show, and had an idea for a massive media stunt that involved a "weather balloon" that "resembles a UFO." Sound familiar?

Robert Thomas claims, in an interview with Gawker, that Heene believed such a stunt would "be the most significant UFO-related news event to take place since the Roswell Crash of 1947."

Thomas said Heene was "driven by ego and fame" after appearing on "Wife Swap." He says Heene's idea for a show was something like "'MythBusters'-meets-mad scientist."

Thomas says he worked for Heene from March through May 2009.

Thomas came out earlier in the day saying he had proof the entire incident was a hoax and wanted to be paid for it. Gawker openly admits they did in fact pay Thomas.


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My guess:
He DID want it to be part of a publicity stunt, but it got away when they were testing it or something, and so they called in with their story to salvage the PR. The cursing in the video was genuine but for a different reason. That would also explain the delay with calling in the report (it was improvised).

HOAX SOLVED. Or not at all :)

1829 days ago


What's wrong with people? Are Americans so mean? This was NOT A HOAX! Watch their TV interviews. These parents were in real pain over this.

1829 days ago


The parents should be charged with some form of endangerment even if the ordeal was real...and I think it was real, unlike the rest of you.

1829 days ago

melinda montoya    

this was definetly a hoax, no doubt about it, definetly for sure, this guy's used to media, and he'll do anything to get it. thats all it was, media attention, thats all.

1829 days ago

lady 12    

I agree with Post 126 however, YOU are watching these shows too! You even talk about specific don't just tell us to stop watching...YOU should too if you haven't already. But I do agree..reality shows have to go that involve children...very sad.

1829 days ago

lady 12    


1829 days ago

Simon Cox    

dear Richard Heene,

you are a LOSER!!!!!!!! Tell THAT to your spokesman!!

1829 days ago

the end of the day    

So, does that mean if he helped him plan the hoax that he will be an accomplice and be charged as such??

1829 days ago


I pity the kids. To force them into this ridiculous farce is inexcusable. The parents should be ashamed. Rehardless of an expert's evaluation of the balloon's capability of lift, I can't see it lifting more than a can of beans in its half inflated state. Wolf Blitzer's telling question for the little boy, and the mother's coaching of the others was enopugh to make anyone sick.
There was no basket, box, or anything else attached to that balloon. Dad's video showed that. So why was everone thinking the boy was inisde the balloon? Because the parents said so. It was a hoax - or, as they say in Hollywood - a PR stunt so Dad could get back on the Tube.
I just hope that the kids come out of this okay, especially the little one who keeps getting sick.
If Mom and Dad want to play these silly little games leave the kids out of it.

1829 days ago


R these people serious? I do believe now more than ever that this is a hoax after reading the last bit of the father's response/post. I think his statement about joking around with his son having to hide in the garage attic is just a way of him covering his tracks. This family is disgusting for using their kids - they make Jon and Kate look like parental role models!

1829 days ago

Balloon Boy    

Check out for more videos. Thnx

1829 days ago


Henne, you are fooling NO ONE. Do you realize that aluminum foil monster could have
caused an airplane to crash?? That Denver International was actually closed as a result
of your idiot scheme?
And just as bad, you are obviously intimidating your entire family, including little boys, to
lie and cover for you.

1828 days ago


"12. This is Richard. . .
- First of all, this was not a hoax. Falcon WAS missing when the balloon lifted off. Why would we make a hoax with out kid?

- When Falcon was talking about the show, this is what happened: Earlier in the day when we were working on this craft, I told Falcon that someday we would be famous and have our own show and when that happened, he would have to hide in the attic to escape his fans. Are we clear? . . .

- Any other questions regarding this incident will be forwarded to my spokesman who I will introduce tomorrow. I will answer more questions tonight.

Yours truly,
Richard Heene

Posted at 8:01PM on Oct 17th 2009 by Richard Heene"

Richard~You really have much more ego than brains. Look at what you just wrote: a different story than what you gave on national TV. What a dummazz you are. You have no "spokesperson," because he/she wouldn't have let you incriminate yourself with that hokey line about hiding in the attic. So what "fans" were Falcon hiding from, on that day? Police, calling his name? He didn't wonder why, for hours, his parents never came to get him? Dang, if he's that egocentric, paranoid and narcissistic at his tender age, he needs as much psychological help as you do.

As a REAL parent, myself, you seriously make my stomach turn. Your wife needs to leave you and save your boys, while they still might have a chance.

1828 days ago

Grizzly Adams    

This was definitely a hoax and CPS should be involved and the children removed from that nuthouse. Plus the parents need a big psyche eval, I mean, c'mon, who the hell names their kid Falcon? This dude is a total whack job and is endangering the whole family, but the mom seems like a total kook too.

1828 days ago

The Nerve Of Some People    

If this was a hoax, I hope Mr. Heene has to pay for all the emergency equipment and personal that tracked the balloon. Laws should be passed to deter this sort of thing from happening again. What if a real emergency had happened at the same time? I watched this unfold on CNN, I knew the little boy wasn't in the balloon. If it was a hoax, I hope CPS gets involved. That poor little boy was so upset that he vomited on live TV. If this was just a publicity stunt so Mr. Heene could get his own reality show, that's child abuse.

1827 days ago
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