Mar 2, 2016

Cultish Seeks Cult Devotees


Serial Investigative Podcast About Cults and Fanaticism Launches This Week

What do Scientologists, Tea Partiers, and SoulCycle All Have in Common? They’re all kind of Cultish.

New York City – March 1, 2016: The pitch was simple: “I’m an award-winning writer, syndicated columnist, investigative journal and I was born in a cult.” No, not an alternative religious movement—a cult, Tina Dupuy explains in the video for her successful Kickstarter campaign. Born into the group known as the Children of God, The Family, and later the Family International—who better to tackle topics like psychological torment, exploitation, and manipulation than Dupuy? Welcome to Cultish, a new podcast about fanaticism and its fallout, hosted by cult product, Tina Dupuy.

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Episode One, available today on iTunes and other podcast services, includes an interview with perhaps the most prominent defector from the “most hated family in America.” Nate Phelps is the son of the late-Fred Phelps, the pastor and founder of Westboro Baptist Church. Currently Nate is a fierce advocate for LGBT rights and works at the Center for Inquiry in Alberta. The elder Phelps may have called Dupuy a “filthy whore,” but she and his son really hit it off. “We had to edit out most of our laughter because we thought it would be jarring to the average person,” Dupuy says of the interview.

Like her interview with Phelps, each new episode will include one vignette about zeal and the desire to fit in along with an installment of a serial told over the course of the season. “We adapted the format from hour television dramas, using a whole season to tell a story while having stand alone pieces each episode,” relays Dupuy.

“Tina has a journalist’s investigative chops, a grief counselor’s compassion, and a comedian’s neurosis,” says Cultish producer, Amber Hall, who has produced radio programs for SiriusXM and public radio.

Season One’s serial investigation explores Tina’s uncle, Rick Dupuy, one of the top leaders of the Children of God, dubbed a sex cult in the 1980s. Rick went on Larry King Live in 1993 and told a national audience that the group had forced him to have sex with a 10-year-old. Is he a pedophile and a con man like his niece had always assumed? The first season searches for answers.

“Nothing is black and white and that easy to look at,” Rick says on King’s show.

Also this season, Dupuy talks with former SNL cast member Jerry Minor (Netflix’s The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) about his stint as a Jehovah Witness. In the months ahead, Cultish will also feature discussions with second generation Scientologists, brand extremists, deadheads, yogis, former gang members and at least one person who can explain the deal with cronuts.

About Cultish:

The result of a successful Kickstarter campaign this past fall, Cultish is a serial investigative podcast about cults and fanaticism hosted by award winning investigative journalist and syndicated columnist, Tina Dupuy. Each episode includes a thematic vignette to introduce the next installment of each season’s serial.

About Tina Dupuy:

Through no fault of her own, Tina was born into an infamous cult; eventually being raised by the state, James Baldwin novels and Alcoholics Anonymous. With a slant towards gallows humor, she started her career as a touring stand up comic only to fail into journalism a few years later. She writes for The AtlanticMother JonesFast Company, Vox, Los Angeles Times and many others. Her syndicated column runs in more than 110 newspapers each week. She lives in Manhattan.

Links About Tina Dupuy:

Dupuy on This American Life:

Dupuy for “I was a poster child for Alcoholics Anonymous. Then I realized I’m not an alcoholic.”

Dupuy for Skeptic Magazine: “Re-Thinking the Fight Against Extremists”

Tina’s Website

Contact: Tina Dupuy 323-842-3735

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