Leader Of Korean Cult Baby Garden Sues Netflix For S$308K In Damages, Demands Documentary In The Name of God: A Holy Betrayal Be Removed
The head of Korean religious cult Baby Garden, Kim Ki Soon, one of four church cult leaders featured in documentary In The Name of God: A Holy Betrayal, has sued Netflix for 300mil won (S$307.8K) in damages.
The eight-part series, which debuted on the streaming platform on March 3, documents the stories of four cult leaders Kim Ki Soon, Jeong Myeong-seok of Christian Gospel Mission, better known as Jesus Morning Star (JMS), Park Soon-ja of Odaeyang Church, and Lee Jae-rock of Manmin Central Church, all of whom claim to be saviours of humanity.
Ki Soon had applied for an injunction against Korean broadcaster MBC, producer Jo Sung Hyun and Netflix Korea to ban the airing of the docuseries.
It later dropped its provisional injunction against Netflix Korea and filed a lawsuit against the global streaming platform’s headquarters in the United States when it learned that it holds the rights to the series.
The trial against MBC and its producer began on March 24 and judgment is expected mid April.
Baby Garden is the second cult after JMS to file for an injunction with the Seoul Central District Court to top the release of the series. It claimed that episodes five and six which discuss the group contain false information.
It also demanded Netflix pay the religious organisation 10mil won (S$10.3K) per day in compensation if the broadcast continues.
JMS' injunction was dismissed by the court and its leader Jung Myung-Seok, 77, is currently awaiting trial in Korea for sexually assaulting some of his female followers, one of whom is Hong Kong actor Alex Fong's girlfriend, 29-year-old Maple Yip.
Founded in 1982, Baby Garden is a religious community consisting of collective farms and factories in Incheon.
Ki Soon placed herself as the head of the cult and referred to herself as a baby, which she claimed made her without sin.
In 1996, about 30 members filed a petition with prosecutors asking that the cult be investigated for exploitation of their assets and labour. After a two-year investigation, Ki Soon was sentenced to four years in prison and fined 5.6bil won (S$5.75mil) for tax evasion, embezzlement, and exploitation.
Following the airing of the series, Synnara Record, a popular album distributor and retailer in the ‘80s and ‘90s, has come under the spotlight after it was alleged that Ki Soon had founded the company.
K-pop fans have expressed shock that Synnara, which organises fan meets for K-pop stars, has ties to the cult and have called for a boycott of the company.
Photos: Netflix, Allkpop