Is 'Moonshiners' Fake? How the Show Evades Law on Television
Moonshiners is a popular Discovery Channel series that shows daredevils producing moonshine, illegal alcohol, while evading law enforcement.
It is a thrilling watch where Tim and Tickle deal with the production of the illegal liquor without getting in trouble.
However, in the years of its existence, Moonshiners has always raised doubts about its authenticity. This comes from the fact that they evade legal repercussions regularly despite doing illegal activities.
Parties differ on the claims, though. While everyone doubts the realness of the show, Tim and Tickle stand firm in their determination that everything they do is real.
Is Moonshiners Fake?
First, let's dive into why people think Moonshiners is fake or even scripted.
The first reason is their daredevil acts face no legal consequences. The series showcases the adventures of illegal distillers in rural Virginia.
But the viewers and Virginia police dispute the authenticity. They argue that a show with people named Tickle and Popcorn cannot be real.
In a statement from December 2011, the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control said that if there was anything illegal taking place in the state, they would have taken action.
According to them, the Discovery show made it seem like the state departments were tolerating illegal activities in the state.
The state residents, too, interrogated the department about the show and why the illegal activity was being tolerated.
A spokesperson for the department maintained that there was no illegal liquor being produced.
The department even said that if they knew how the show would turn out, they would not have been a part of it.
"Virginia ABC agreed to participate in an informative piece that documents the history of moonshine and moonshine investigations in Virginia. Virginia ABC did not participate nor was aware of the false depiction of moonshine manufacturing, distribution and/or transportation in the filming, and would not have participated in the `documentary' had it known of this portrayal," their statement read.
People on social media, too, agree with law enforcement that the show is fake. They feel like it has become more scripted as the years have gone by.
Another thing that screams fake is that Magilla Entertainment, the production company for the show, is known for its involvement in other fake shows such as America's Worst Tattoos and King of Thrones.
However, the people involved in the show have differing opinions on the matter.
Moonshiners Cast Adamant about the Show Being Real
The cast and the producers stand by their show and say everything shown is real. They have held this position ever since the show came out.
Matt Ostrom, a partner at Magilla Entertainment, said in April 2016 that the company stood behind Moonshiners, and he felt like the show "accurately portrays the secret life of those who make moonshine and the law enforcement tasked with capturing them."
Tim (full name Tim Smith) also gave his reasons as to why he had not been arrested for illegal moonshining.
He argued that for somebody to be arrested for something illegal, the police should have witnesses and physical samples of the illegal production.
"How are you going to arrest me for moonshining I did five years ago?" he added. "Moonshiners take a lot of precautions."
To him, the illegal nature of moonshining was one of the show's main appeals. "There's marketing value there just because it is illegal," he told Fox News.
'Moonshiners' has always raised doubts about it being fake, but the cast and crew have vouched for the show's authenticity. (Photo: Twitter)
In another interview just days later, Tim and Tickle revealed further details regarding their trade to Fox News.
When asked how they got "evade the law on a national television show," the two reiterated the above point.
In their opinion, moonshining was illegal only because there was no tax being paid for the product.
They said moonshine was not commercial grade alcohol, and even though Tim started a legal distillery then, he claimed he was still making actual moonshine.
"it's not like somebody just popped up and started making something and put a label on it," Tim told Fox News. "We took the exact same product and put it in a bottle, and now we can sell it to everybody."
Tickle added to that, saying the product was the same, and the only difference was that it was being produced in a more controlled environment.
On whether moonshine would ever become legal, they opined it wasn't the matter of it being legal or illegal. The only thing that mattered was whether the manufacturers were accountable with tax.