Conscious social media star, best-selling author and speaker Teal Swan has a process for overcoming trauma that her devoted followers swear has changed their lives and a young director looked to use her good name to help his in a Hulu documentary.
In May of 2022, a new series by a young director named Jon Kasbe was released on Hulu that was focused on the new thought leader and conscious media star, Teal Swan. The series, which portrayed Teal Swan as being a controversial figure, became quite the controversy in and of itself, and garnered some serious backlash as reported on this past June by some other media outlets, whom forgot to check their sources unfortunately.
However, since these initial reports came out by non-fact-checking-sites, some rather new information has come to light on the backlash of this series, which raises the question of ethics when it comes to “how far is too far?” when it comes to creating entertainment that sells.
Our own research reveals a very concerning trend within the Hulu series, and the reports by other media outlets. From untrue facts, statements and the manipulation of trust to suit a certain agenda, the willingness of certain media and industry professionals to bend the moral and ethical rules to suit their aim, no matter who it harms, and in this case Teal Swan and her family.
One of the most concerning issues that has come to light since the documentary aired is that The Deep End director Jon Kasbe and field producer Bits Sola went to extreme fraudulent lengths to infiltrate Teal Swan’s life. Then they went to even greater shockingly duplicitous lengths to lead Teal Swan, her family, her team and many of her workshop participants to believe that Kasbe and Sola were truly good friends so that their trust would be earned; and so that they could later exploit that trust for their own gain.
In the making of The Deep End, Swan and everyone around here were systematically set up and misled. They were told they were filming it because of the director and production company’s desire to share a positive message of good work with a larger audience. When in reality, what Kasbe had planned was a hit piece.
We’ve seen this type of thing play out countless times in Hollywood. And many will say that it is the right of any director to decide what final piece to create with the footage that has been captured, especially if the subjects agreed to be filmed. But the big problem here is that our research shows that they agreed under false pretenses. Video evidence has surfaced which depicts the many ways that editors cut and pasted scenes together to create their own narratives and scenes, not in the ways or even timelines in which they really occurred. As it turns out, when it comes to the Deep End, the “reality” they decided to put forth in their film was not actual reality. It was in fact a carefully crafted illusion designed to suit their own predetermined agenda and get this film sold to someone like Hulu.
THE TRUTH COMES OUT: Some of the Fabrications
In the Hulu series, the footage is deliberately edited to make it appear that Swan leads a cult of minion-like team members and they all live together in a compound. THE TRUTH: As it turns out, Teal Swan does not lead a cult and she does not live with her team or any of her followers. In fact, she only cohabitates with her son, one other family member and her best friend, Graciela, who does not even work for Swan’s company. She has her own digital coaching business.
When director Jon Kasbe was confronted about this in a podcast he appeared on after the release, his response was he “didn’t feel the need to clarify that in the show because everyone is over there (at Teal’s house) constantly.” Kasbe repeatedly takes issue with the fact that Swan’s personal life and career is so intertwined and demands so much dedication from all involved. But Kasbe does not seem to mind bending the rules for himself. The hypocrisy being that he recently publicly announced that when you are in the film business, having a partner who does not work with you in the field is too difficult because you never see them, so he is now officially in a romantic relationship with his producer.
FAKE: The series also depicted a conversation about a “non-negotiable list” that people around Swan apparently have to sign. THE TRUTH: Our research revealed that what the film team actually filmed was a group brainstorming activity that was not even initiated by Swan herself, but that was instead initiated by her team. The team had involved Swan in an attempt to come up with perfectly reasonable boundaries for Swan’s private household. It had nothing whatsoever to do with her employees seeing as how other than family, no employees live directly in Swan’s household. A lawyer looked over the non-negotiables list and said it is perfectly legal. And even more than that, as it turns out, because it was simply a raw brainstorming session and a draft created to try to establish what the right boundaries were, rather than a contract of any kind, no one ever had to sign it or ever did sign anything related to it.
There are just too many fabrications and too much unethical editing in this series to properly cover them all. At the end of the day, the series depicts Teal Swan as a cult leader who is damaging people’s lives. Whereas our research since its release has revealed quite the opposite. We cannot find any proof that anyone in her inner circle was ever forced to do anything against their will. From their own accounts, they have always had the choice to work remotely and live autonomous lives. No one has ever had to sign anything except the normal contracts one would expect to find between employees and companies or individuals and the celebrities that they are associated with.
We spoke to some of Teal Swan’s team members and clients depicted in the series and they tell us directly that they have suffered symptoms of PTSD following the release of this series. They say they are fearful of trusting people now, as well as fearful of being wrongfully judged or of being seen as “brainwashed”; which is how the film was edited to make them come across. Some of them have lost relationships with family and friends who cut ties with them based off of watching the series.
The facts are the facts and Teal Swan does what so many of her colleagues do, such as Eckhart Tolle, Tony Robbins, and Sadhguru (just to name a few). Like Swan, many of her colleagues also do not have an academic degree related to their field and instead draw upon their own life experiences and talents when teaching others.
But just like her peers, Swan has grown and therefore has become a target for money-hungry media / people such as Kasbe, who this day continues to post on his social media hurtful things in hopes of getting a rise out of Swan and her fanbase.
In the end, entertainment that is created at the expense of so many individuals involved needs to not happen anymore. The Deep End Series forces us to ask: Just how far is too far to go for the sake of career ambition and for the sake of our entertainment? In a day and age where mental health is a hot topic, shows like these that manipulate and push individuals into false narratives can be very dangerous for all. It needs to stop.