10 Things I Hate About You star Andrew Keegan recently visited the Pod Meets World podcast to look back on his early days at a ’90s heartthrob. But while reminiscing about his past, the actor also wanted to clear one thing up: he is not a cult leader.
Boy Meets World stars Danielle Fishel, Rider Strong and Will Friedle, who co-host the podcast, gave Keegan the floor to explain the truth behind the “cult leader” allegations, which he completely denied.
The actor explained that he “got immersed in the culture and the community” in Venice Beach after moving there in his early 20s.
“There was this interesting group of hippie types, if you will, in Venice. I’m sure if you went on the west side, there’s definitely a lot of spirituality,” he said. “I was connected with some folks and we had this opportunity. This old Hare Krishna Temple, it was sitting there empty and we were like, ‘Why don’t we get some people together and let’s open this place up?’”
The group aimed to “do some positive things for the community” and took on the title Full Circle beginning in 2014.
“Looking back, it was insane. I was putting down tens of thousands of dollars, but we opened it up and spent three years and really did build an amazing friend group,” Keegan said. “We went through something really significant from 2014 to 2017.”
In 2015, Vice reported that the center, which the outlet called a “temple,” was raided by California’s Department of Alcohol Beverage Control for illegally manufacturing and distributing kombucha. Full Circle’s communications and development director Jason Dilts told the outlet that drinking kombucha is “part of our spiritual practice,” and claimed at the time, “We weren’t aware that we needed any sort of special license to sell kombucha.”
The alleged cult was profiled by Vice in 2014, where the reporter noted that Keegan was seen as the leader of the group who has “ultimate say on all things.”
Keegan noted that Vice’s report was “a very interesting, colorful story,” but insisted that Full Circle was much less organized than it seemed.
“We really just got together and did a Sunday thing. We did almost 1,000 events in three years and it was actually really hard,” he said. He later added that it was “the opposite of what you would imagine” and maintained, “There was no doctrine. We were just getting people together.”
The actor appeared to still have fond memories of working with the group, saying, “For all intents and purposes, it was a really cool community center for a bunch of people in Venice for a few years.”
Full Circle later closed in 2017 due to financial difficulties, but they later claimed to have found a new investor.
Keegan has since returned to acting, with appearances in Living Among Us and Trinkets.