Andrew Keegan denies that he once ran a cult and maintains his “cool community” Full Circle was a spiritual movement.
The “10 Things I Hate About You” star joked that he “woke up one day, and I was anointed a cult leader” while talking about it on Monday’s episode of the “Pod Meets World” podcast.
Keegan moved to Venice, Calif., in his early 20s and around 2013 he “really got immersed in the culture and the community” with “hippie types” of people.
“So I was connected with some folks, and we had this opportunity, there was this old Rose Temple,” he recalled. “It 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.’”
Keegan explained that their intention was to “do some positive things for the community” within the church, but it came at a cost to him, personally.
“[It] was kind of looking back, was insane,” he admitted. “I was putting down thousands of, tens of thousands of dollars, and we opened it up, and we spent three years and we did build an amazing friend group.”
The “7th Heaven” actor, 45, claimed that the headlines about him starting a religion and calling him a cult leader were “clickbait central” and many of the stories at the time were “colorful” depictions of his community.
“We really just got together, and we did a Sunday thing and did almost a thousand events in three years and it was actually really hard, and it was really beneficial to a lot of people,” he shared.
Keegan teased that it was “kind of the opposite” of a stereotypical cult in the sense that “there was no doctrine,” and they were just trying to “get people together.”
“So for all intents and purposes, it was just a really cool community center for a bunch of people in Venice for years,” he shared.
The podcast’s co-host Danielle Fishel compared it to a group of people at Burning Man –– a festival encouraging community and self-reliance –– and Keegan agreed.
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“Again, it wasn’t something with such a specific agenda. At the time it just kind of evolved from a group of people,” he said.
Keegan ended the conversation by joking that he considers it a “badge of honor” to have been labeled a “cult leader.”
Since news broke of Full Circle over a decade ago, Keegan had been denying reports that it was a religion or a cult.
“We put our heart into it. There’s no argument, no ulterior motive. It’s purely love for a space and for a community. Maybe it’s too good for people, though, and it’s too much,” Keegan told Page Six in 2016.
Full Circle eventually closed in 2017 due to financial reasons.