’10 Things I Hate About You’ Actor Andrew Keegan Addresses Rumors He Started A Cult

Andrew Keegan says he was never a cult leader, but welcomes that myth as “a badge of honor.”

The “10 Things I Hate About You” (1999) star made far-reaching headlines in 2014 when Vice published an article claiming he started his own religion. When asked on Monday’s episode of the “Pod Meets World” podcast what that was like, Keegan cheekily clarified.

“You mean when I woke up one day and was, like, anointed a cult leader?” he quipped.

Keegan explained that he moved to Venice Beach, California, in his 20s and got involved with the local hippie population and Occupy Wall Street chapter. The actor said he “really got immersed in the culture and the community” when an interesting “opportunity” arrived.

“The old Hare Krishna temple … was sitting there empty and we were like, ‘Yo, why don’t we just get some people together and let’s open this place up?’” he said on the podcast. “We … were like, ‘Let’s get it together, let’s do some positive things for the community.’”

“At one point we had the opportunity to get in there and we did,” he added. “Which, looking back, was insane. I was putting down thousands and tens of thousands of dollars, but when we opened it up we spent three years and really did build an amazing friend group.”

The Vice coverage described Full Circle as a “new age temple and spiritual movement.” Though it didn’t specifically call Keegan a “cult leader,” it dubbed him “the official leader” of a “growing body of followers” who had the “ultimate say on things.”

“What happened as far as the articles, of course, my history as an actor, to be known in combination with the church, it was clickbait central,” Keegan said Monday. “We had a few things that happened there but, I think the first thing that started it all was this Vice article.”

Keegan said his supposed “cult” was “just a really cool community center” for locals.

Steve Granitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images

The actor said his church “went through something really significant” and held around 1,000 events from 2014 to 2017 that were “really beneficial to a lot of people.”

At one point, Keegan filed a defamation lawsuit against AEG and Newsmax for claiming he was arrested for selling alcoholic kombucha without a permit. The case was later dismissed.

“For all intents and purposes, it was just a really cool community center for people in Venice for three years,” he said Monday, adding: “I look back at it now and I’m like, I don’t know anybody else that’s being called a cult leader, so it’s kind of like a badge of honor.”


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