The "10 Things I Hate About You" star insisted that his organization Full Circle "was "just a really cool community center."
When is a religion not a religion? Perhaps when it's just "a really cool community center."
In a new podcast interview, '90s heartthrob and 10 Things I Hate About You star Andrew Keegan addressed rumors that he started a "cult" in the 2010s, and said that's not how he sees Full Circle, the spiritual organization he helped found a decade ago.
"I moved to Venice in my early twenties and just got really immersed in the culture and the community," Keegan said on the latest episode of the Boy Meets World rewatch podcast Pod Meets World, adding that "there was this interesting kind of group of hippie types, if you will," in the bohemian Los Angeles neighborhood. "There was the old Hare Krishna temple… and 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, whose screen credits also include 7th Heaven and Camp Nowhere, said that reflecting on the Full Circle experience now is a little jarring. "Looking back [it] was insane," he said. "I was putting down thousands and tens of thousands of dollars, and when we opened it up we spent three years and really did build an amazing friend group." Full Circle folded in 2017. "For all intents and purposes, it was just a really cool community center for people in Venice for three years," Keegan said.
The actor admitted that he didn't handle the media frenzy around Full Circle as well as he could have, including a Vice article that published under the headline "One of the Stars of '10 Things I Hate About You' Started a Religion."
"They came in and y'know, I probably should've had a little more media training at the time, and I was just like, 'Yeah, everything is great, this is all these wild things going on, sacred,'" Keegan recalled.
However, he maintained that the organization was a positive force in the community. "We really just got together and we did a Sunday thing, and we did I think almost 1,000 events in three years, and it was actually really hard, and it was really beneficial to a lot of people," he said. "I still hear about it now, people are like, 'That was such a great time.' So it's kind of the opposite of what I guess you would imagine — there was no doctrine."
Keegan explained that he thinks the group's name might have lead to some misinterpretations of its purposes. "Maybe we should have come up with a different name; I thought Full Circle was pretty good, you know, what goes around comes around," he said. "But again, it wasn't something with such a specific agenda at the time. It just sort of evolved from a group of people."
In 2015, Keegan sued Examiner.com and parent company Anschutz Entertainment for reporting that he had been arrested when Full Circle was raided for unpermitted kombucha sales, as he claimed he wasn't present at the time of the raid. The case was ultimately dismissed.
On the podcast, Keegan implied that he's amused by some of the claims that have been made about the organization. "I don't know anybody else that's being called a cult leader, so it's kind of like a badge of honor," he said.
Listen to Keegan's full Pod Meets World episode above.
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