Netflix and South Korean public broadcaster MBC have defeated a legal challenge against their religious cult documentary exposé “In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal.”
The eight-part Netflix original program delves into the real stories of four self-proclaimed Korean prophets, including Jeong Myeong-seok, leader of the Christian Gospel Mission. Jeong is currently facing trial in Korea over allegations he sexually assaulted multiple female followers.
Jesus Morning Star (JMS), as the group is also known, sought an injunction to halt the docuseries from airing, claiming that it was a work of fiction that infringed upon the presumption of innocence and religious freedom.
The Seoul Western District Court dismissed JMS’s application, as it found that the program was created from an ample amount of objective and subjective sources.
The debut episode, which premiered last Friday, presents explicit accounts of sexual encounters and accusations of mistreatment by an ex-JMS member identified as Maple.
In the documentary, Maple provides details of her purported intimate encounters with Jeong, including her cries to God as she was being assaulted. The program also features footage of Jeong telling a sexually explicit version of the Adam and Eve story and five unclothed women summoning Jeong as their “Lord” to join them in a bathtub.
Jeong has a history of sexual assault charges, having previously been imprisoned for 10 years for raping three female followers during overseas trips from 2003 to 2006.
After being deported from China, Jeong was jailed in Korea in 2008 and was only released in 2018 with the requirement of wearing an electronic ankle bracelet. Currently, he is facing charges for the “quasi-rape” of a woman from Hong Kong and another from Australia. In Korean law, “quasi-rape” is defined as sexual intercourse that occurs when a person is unconscious or unable to resist.
According to anti-JMS campaigner Kim Do-hyeong, other women are preparing to file sexual assault lawsuits against Jeong.
JMS has refuted the accusations and warned of the possibility of taking legal action for defamation against media outlets that disseminate unverified information.