EntertainmentNetflix's "Dancing for the Devil" uncovers dark side of TikTok fame

Netflix's "Dancing for the Devil" uncovers dark side of TikTok fame

"Diabelski taniec: Sekta 7M z TikToka"
"Diabelski taniec: Sekta 7M z TikToka"
Images source: © Press materials

7:34 AM EDT, June 4, 2024

On May 29, a three-episode series titled "Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult" appeared on the Netflix streaming platform. The documentary tells the story of young people who, following their passion, were lured by a Korean-American pastor into a dangerous cult.

"Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult" should be a warning to young people. The whole story started very innocently. A group of TikTok dancers is noticed by a talent-searching company that offers them a significant career opportunity. 7M Films seems to be a serious company. Its dancers have performed at star concerts and even during halftime of the biggest sporting event in the USA—the Super Bowl.

Entrepreneurial pastor Robert Shinn is the CEO of 7M Films. He has attempted to start various businesses. Initially, he wanted to become a Hollywood producer, but only the company's film name remained after that attempt. However, Robert Shinn was primarily the founder of the Shekinah Church, established in 1994. It was meant to be a religious community for the Korean-American population-based in Los Angeles, California.

The documentary "Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult" presents the story of the parents and sister of one of the dancers, who try to contact the lost family member and rescue her from the organization's clutches. Twenty-five-year-old Miranda broke off contact with them when she came under Robert Shinn's wing. In a civil lawsuit filed against him, the church, and the company in 2023, it is stated that it is a cult operating under the guise of a religious institution.

Miranda's sister, Melanie Wilking, also had the "pleasure" of meeting the pastor. She recalls a dinner with the founder of the Shekinah Church: "Robert sat at the head of a long table and after we had dinner he asked me if I would consider myself a sinner. I said, ‘I don’t think so,’ and he replied, ‘What if I told you that you had already sinned a thousand times today? I had no idea what to say. Then he said that if I died right now, I would go to hell, but that he would help me. The next thing, we all sat in a circle holding hands with Robert seated in the middle, and he put his hand on my head and everyone was kind of speaking in tongues".

The documentary also tells the stories of other artists and former cult members who freed themselves from Pastor Shinn's influence. They now try to rebuild their lives, but the actual therapeutic process only begins when they decide to confront the machinations of their persecutor collectively.

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