The religious group Baby Garden has filed a 300 million won (approximately $231,000) lawsuit against Netflix for damages allegedly caused by their documentary series “In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal.”
The eight-part original series, which was first released on Netflix on March 3, examines four religious cult leaders in South Korea and sparked public outrage among viewers as many demanded punishment for Jeong Myeong-seok, the leader of Jesus Morning Star (JMS).
Baby Garden and leader Kim Ki-soon — the subjects of the fifth and sixth episodes of the docuseries — have now filed two lawsuits related to the show.
In the first lawsuit filed to the Seoul Central District Court, the cult is calling for the two episodes to be banned, claiming the series contains false information.
They are additionally seeking 10 million won (approximately $7,700) from South Korean production company MBC and director Cho Sung-hyun for each day the two episodes remain on the streaming platform.
Despite Kim’s acquittal on murder and fraud charges at the Supreme Court in 1998, Baby Garden claims the docuseries perpetuates doubt that Kim is still a murderer.
MBC countered by saying that the program only covered what happened at the time of the incident: false testimony and mass assault.
According to local reports, Baby Garden had also included Netflix Korea in its initial injunction filed on March 8 but withdrew the streaming service from the lawsuit, saying broadcasting rights lie within the streaming platform’s headquarters in the U.S. and that Netflix Korea is only in charge of subscription contracts in Korea.
Baby Garden subsequently filed a second lawsuit on March 21 against Netflix’s U.S.-based headquarters, Netflix Korea, MBC and Cho for damages of 300 million won (approximately $231,000).
This is not the first time the religious group has filed a lawsuit seeking the blockage of media coverage.
In 2001, Baby Garden successfully blocked the airing of an investigative series by another local broadcaster, SBS, with an injunction to the Seoul Southern District Court.
“There is a small possibility that the episodes about Baby Garden may be banned, as the religious cult had stopped SBS’ broadcast in the past. I hope many people watch those episodes to see how cruel and scary religious cults can become,” Cho said in a press conference on March 10, according to The Korea Herald.
Court decisions are set to be made after the deadline for submitting documents on April 7.