My local TV station [SBS Viceland in Australia] is showing all the X Files episodes from start to finish, every week. I wondered about something that I heard a few years ago, in articles like this one from Vulture:Chris Carter Thought the FBI Was Going to Shut Down The X-Files, Like Life Imitating Art:

I can tell you this: When I wrote the [1993] pilot, I called the FBI to do some research, and they were nice enough, but didn’t really give me the time of day. Then, all of a sudden, as we got close to airing, the FBI called and said, “Who are you and what are you doing?” And for a second, I thought it was going to be the long arm of the law coming in to shut me down.

I have come across this claim a few times. There seems to be no agreement based on hard evidence that [1] Chris Carter got such a phone call from the FBI or [2] if he did how serious it was.

Is there any definitive answer? Did it happen? I'd like to add that I don't regard a quote from an online news site as being proof that satisfies me.

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    What would you consider proof? A statement from Chris Carter himself? And just in case something happens to your link, could you edit the part of that article that talks about a "phone call from the FBI" into your question? I can't read that article at work and I have no idea what phone call you're referring to.
    – F1Krazy
    Nov 19 '19 at 11:26
  • @F1Krazy the statement is from Carter himself; see edited post (included the quote itself)
    – desertnaut
    Nov 19 '19 at 11:54
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    @desertnaut If OP isn't willing to believe a statement from Chris Carter himself that he received this phone call, then I have no idea what kind of "hard evidence" they're expecting. It's not like there's going to be a transcript floating around somewhere.
    – F1Krazy
    Nov 19 '19 at 11:56
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    I mean it looks like strange wording combined with theatrical paranoia; He started by saying he called the FBI for info, so I wouldn't be surprised if they, eventually, realizing that this was going to be a full series rather than just a random pipe dream, returned his call and asked what he was doing, but I doubt it was in any way a "we might shut you down if we don't like what we hear" but at most "we might help you with a consultant for authenticity if we think you're going to portray us positively." Nov 19 '19 at 11:58
  • Please do not take downvotes personally. An alternative way of viewing the situation here is that the community as a whole has signaled some real issues with your question, helped you improve it to some extend, and it has even provided an answer (of sorts)...
    – desertnaut
    Nov 19 '19 at 14:05

Is there any definitive answer?

No. And arguably, there cannot be such an answer.

Given that the alleged incident itself involves only two people (Carter and some unnamed FBI employee) in a phone conversation, and that Carter says it has happened, it's hard to imagine what exactly would constitute "hard evidence" here; it's not like there were alleged witnesses or something. The best you could hope for is some form of corroboration, which should come from a source uncorrelated to Carter himself - "yes, it's true, Chris Carter told me so" doesn't count, of course (apparently, he has told everyone so). Even if some person verifiably employed by FBI back in the day steps forward and says yes, it's true, it was me that made the call, well, this would sound indeed as corroboration, but it would not in itself constitute hard evidence, would it?

Only thing I can think of is filing some Freedom of Information request...

  • 1
    There can be a later denial from Carter himself, un which case the answer would shift to "probably not". We also don't know if the magazine just made the quote up out of whole cloth. That's the problem with a single source.
    – Spencer
    Nov 19 '19 at 22:49

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