Untangling the Story Behind Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult

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The story behind any alleged cult always has at least two sides: The ex-members who say it was a cult and the people still in the group who maintain they are in no way part of a cult.

Robert Shinn, the founding pastor of Los Angeles-based Shekinah Church, has maintained that he’s just trying to bring his flock closer to God, and that his 7M Films is simply a talent management company.

But a number of former acolytes, including several dancers with millions of Instagram and TikTok followers, have accused the pastor of running his church like a cult. They’ve alleged he urged them to cut ties with family and manipulated them—emotionally, spiritually, financially and, in some cases, sexually—to keep them under his thumb.

“I needed spiritual guidance, and Robert could do that,” dancer Aubrey Fisher, a former Shekinah member and 7M client, said in the new Netflix docuseries Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult, explaining why he found the dynamic attractive in the first place. “And he also handled the business side. I’m in, count me in.”

The initial pitch that hooked the 26-year-old is representative of the other stories told by ex-Shekinah followers in the three-part series.

In October 2022, as rumors about what was going on behind the scenes at his church spread like wildfire on social media, Robert filed a lawsuit against several former members alleging conspiracy to commit defamation and trade libel.

A group including Aubrey filed a cross-complaint in March 2023, calling Shekinah “a cult operating under the guise of a religious institution,” according to a copy of the lawsuit reviewed by E! News that accuses Robert of “building his personal wealth on the backs of the free labor or excessive fees from Shekinah members.”

Content retrieved from: https://www.eonline.com/news/1402695/untangling-the-story-behind-dancing-for-the-devil-the-7m-tiktok-cult.

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