Robert Shinn In The 7M TikTok Cult: Where Is The Godman Now?


Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult is yet another Netflix documentary that tells us about a self-proclaimed godman who is said to have brainwashed a lot of young people and influencers for his own benefit and wreaked havoc on the lives of the families of those victims. Whenever I watch a documentary or a film, there are multiple questions that pop up in my mind. I always think about what would it be like have a one-on-one conversation with them—if they would be so charismatic that I would get charmed and influenced by their aura; if they would be thinking that what they are doing is not right; if they know that they are just fooling people by telling them that they have a direct link to the almighty; or if they are delusional enough to believe that they actually have some supernatural powers and that they are the chosen ones. Because of cons and fraudsters, the reputation of the people who are actually trying to do some good work gets tarnished. Well, because the court has not passed any judgments against Robert Shinn, it won’t be correct to call him a fraudster. However, there have been testimonies that were revealed in the Netflix documentary that made me question his credibility. 

In the documentary, we saw that the Wilking sisters, i.e., Miranda and Melanie, met the Godman through James Derrick, aka Bdash. Derrick shared a close bond with Isaiah, who was Robert Shinn’s son. They went to the Shekinah Church, and at first, they thought it was a harmless congregation of people from different communities, as it felt nice to be there. Melanie, from the outset, knew that it was not her cup of coffee, though, at that time, she didn’t have any personal problems with the church or its pastor, Robert Shinn. Miranda, on the other hand, got really involved in the day-to-day proceedings of the church together with Derrick, and her association with Shinn grew stronger with every passing day. Miranda cut all ties with her family without giving any sort of justification for why she was doing it. After Dean and Kelly, Miranda’s parents, together with Melanie, posted a video online, things started getting a bit ugly. Any parent would think that their child was brainwashed, as there was no conflict or problem between the parents and the kid. Miranda made it very clear that she didn’t want to stay in touch with her family, and even when she met her parents and her sister after a long time, her cold behavior told Dean and Kelly that something had changed inside her. 

After watching the 3 episodes, I was more inclined to believe that Robert Shinn had found a way to earn easy money, and he took advantage of the fact that since all the people who were a part of the Shekinah church were adults and they had come to him on their own free will, the court couldn’t charge him with any crime. Now, things got a bit complicated when allegations were made against Robert that he committed certain sexual offenses, but the godman found a way to deal with it, too. As the journalist from Rolling Stone, Andrea Marks, rightly put it, in such cases, generally, it’s the word of one person against the other, and there is little or no evidence that can prove the claims to be true. So, even though Priscylla Lee (one of the members of the church who escaped after two decades) wants to press charges and fight the battle, it is going to be an uphill task for her. In my personal opinion, I believe that the women who came ahead and spoke against him do not have any other vendetta, and they actually went through what they did. But the point remains that opinions and speculations do not help in the court of law, which is why Robert Shinn is still enjoying his freedom and hasn’t been put behind bars. 

According to Dancing for the Devil, the mortgage and real estate companies owned by Robert Shinn (directly or indirectly) made millions of dollars in 2021, but the people who were actually responsible for the success were paid only $100 per week. 7M Production, which claimed to be a talent management agency, managed business for influencers like Bdash and Miranda. A chunk of the profit that these influencers earned was taken by Robert Shinn, though on paper, it was the influencers who were making the donations out of their free will. At times, I think the kind of manipulative powers people like Robert Shinn have so as to make a person believe that giving away all their hard-earned money is for their own benefit. Even a layman could see through the intentions of people like Robert Shinn. The self-proclaimed godman roams around in a Porsche while the families of the victims wail in desperation and hopelessness. 

Where is Robert Shinn now? 

In Dancing for the Devil, we saw that Melanie Lee wanted to serve a legal notice to Robert Shinn and his family. So, she tracked him down and found him in Los Angeles, CA, where the Shekinah Church is located. That was probably the last time he was seen publicly, as after that, he went into his shell and refused to be a part of the documentary as well. The case against Robert Shinn is set to go to trial in 2025, and probably that’s when the truth will come to light. Since the Shekinah church is an invite-only church, a layman cannot enter its premises, and that’s why there is a lot of discretion when it comes to the day-to-day proceedings of the church. 7M Films has an official website and an Instagram page, but there is little or no information about their projects, their whereabouts, or the details of their founder, Robert Shinn. A post on their Instagram profile says that one does not have to be a member of the Shekinah Church if they want to be represented by the talent management agency. It also says that whatever claims and accusations have been made against the talent management company or the church are done with the malicious intent that neither Robert Shinn nor the management are involved in any such malpractices. 

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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