The 7M TikTok Cult Is the Subject of Netflix's Newest Documentary — Lawsuits and Financial Fraud Run Rife

A rift between TikTok sisters Miranda and Melanie Wilking led to an investigation into the 7M “cult” featured in a Netflix doc.

Jamie Lerner - Author

May 8 2024, Published 6:03 p.m. ET

The 7M TikTok Cult dancers
Source: Netflix

In an age where cult activity is the center of attention, it seems unlikely that people could so easily fall into one. We’ve seen what happens with groups like NXIVM and Scientology, so it should seem obvious to stay away from cults (or groups that seem like one). However, no one sets out to “join a cult” — cults often prey on common vulnerabilities, which is why up-and-coming dancers, influencers, and actors may be easy targets.

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Netflix’s newest cult documentary, Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult, which is set to premiere on May 29, details what happened when one half of a dancing sister duo, the Wilking sisters, fell into the wrong management firm. 7M Films claims to be a management company for dancers, models, and actors, but an investigation behind the scenes shows a much darker story. What’s really going on?

Wilking sisters in 'Dancing for the Devil'
Source: Netflix
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To explain the 7M TikTok cult, we have to dig into the founder of 7M, Robert Shinn.

Robert Shinn founded 7M Films in 2021, so it’s still pretty new. However, to make a name for his new venture, he and his son, Isaiah, approached growing social media influencers, including the Wilking sisters. While Miranda Wilking decided she wanted to work with 7M, Melanie noticed several red flags and decided to stay away from the organization.

One of those red flags is the “leader,” Robert Shinn, who is also the leader of Los Angeles’s Shekinah Church. However, the “Church” seems to have no physical or social media presence. According to a Daily Beast profile, corporate filings show the church’s address is just an office space, coincidentally the same address as the 7M Films HQ.

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Shekinah Church was founded in 1994 and seems to borrow from several other religions and cult-like dogma. In 2009, former Shekinah Church member Lydia Chung filed a lawsuit against Shinn, claiming he “had isolated her from her family, brainwashed her, and defrauded her out of nearly $4 million, which was allegedly funneled to Shinn through the non-taxpaying church.” The judge ultimately ruled in Shinn’s favor, leaving Chung to pick up the pieces of the life he stole.

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“This is a cult,” she told The Daily Beast. “This totally ruins people. You hear about the people who went to Vietnam—going through such a trauma, many people cannot function as a normal human being—this is what it does.” She claimed Shinn “exerted undue influence, mind control, coercive persuasion, oppression, and other intimidating tactics” over her to “divest her of her money and property” to him “all in the name of obeying the will of God.”

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Of course, this was before Shinn’s 7M Films days, but his pattern of behavior continued, leading several former 7M dancers to sue the company. TikTokers Aubrey Fisher-Greene, Kylie Douglas, and Kevin “Konkrete” Davis joined four others in accusing Shinn of running a cult.

“Shekinah is a cult operating under the guise of a religious institution,” the cross-complaint said (via Rolling Stone). “Robert refers to himself as ‘the Man of God’ and preaches to Shekinah members, and that [sic] without submitting to him and without Shekinah, their lives will be cursed. Robert required full physical and economic control [sic] over Shekinah members.”

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The Netflix documentary about 7M will likely focus on the Wilking sisters and other strained families.

When Melanie and her parents went live on Instagram to tell their story, Miranda and her husband, James “BDAsh” Derrick, tried to blame the familial separation on racism towards Miranda’s husband. However, the Wilkings denied this, pointing out that Melanie was also dating a Black man at the time. Even still, 7M was able to use this to drive a wedge between the sisters and pull Miranda into their money-making machine.

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The former members allege that Shinn used 7M to control members of the church and gain funds to live a life of luxury. In fact, 7M may be a reference to Shekinah’s teaching of the Seven Mountain Mandate, an ideology that claims “believers” must infiltrate the seven facets of the modern world—family, religion, education, media, entertainment, business, and government—to “establish God’s kingdom on Earth.”

It’s essentially a holier-than-thou ideology that believes its followers should be in leadership positions throughout every industry. This makes sense considering Shinn’s other ventures, including real estate, medical testing, outreach programs, and other money-making schemes. There are plenty of allegations against Shinn, including sexual assault allegations, but little has been shared with the public, so we’re eager to see what comes to light in Netflix’s documentary.

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