Oct 31, 2023


Around the Web, Around the World

A Little Bit Culty

Seek Safely: Jean Brown & Dr. Glenn Patrick Doyle on the Self-Help Industry

The self-help book industry alone is expected to grow from $10.5 billion annually to $15 billion by 2025. Of course, with that kinda dough floating around, a raging demand for personal growth has led to a plethora of tools aimed at achieving it. Unfortunately, there are people that seek to take advantage of this, leading to dangerous—or even deadly—consequences.

When Kirby Brown was only 38 years old, a man named James Arthur Ray pushed her to stick out an incredibly hot sweat lodge session in Sedona, Arizona. A self-proclaimed “guru,” Ray allegedly urged participants to disregard their physical discomfort, even ignoring their pleas for help. Tragically, Brown and two other individuals lost their lives during the hellish experience.

On today’s episode, we’re joined by two guests: Jean Brown, who is Kirby’s sister and the co-author of This Sweet Life: How we lived after Kirby died, a memoir she wrote with her mother about what happened to Kirby and its larger implications for the self-help industry. Joining her is Dr. Glenn Patrick Doyle, a psychologist who has teamed up with Jean and the SEEK SAFELY non-profit org and podcast. Founded by George and Ginny Brown, Kirby and Jean’s parents, SEEK SAFELY is aimed at passing legislation within the self-help industry to prevent abuse in the future.

Episode available since October 30, 2023

Oct 25, 2023


Around the Web, Around the World

A Little Bit Culty

Desperately Seeking Soulmate: Alice Hines on Twin Flames Universe

Let’s admit it. Despite the billions of people on earth, the world can be a friggin lonely place. And for the VIP-lonely among us, Jeff and Shaleia charge a mere $8888 for all the answers to life’s big love questions. If you’re seeking a first-person narrative about what it’s like to pay to play in Twin Flames Universe, check out Keely Griffin on ALBC.

For this show, we features Alice Hines – the Emmy-award winning investigative journalist and executive producer of Desperately Seeking Soulmate: Escaping Twin Flames Universe, a new docuseries chronicling the two kooky, creepy founders Jeff – a real Keto Keith Raniere – and his partner Shaleia as they go from run-of-the-mill influencers to building what Vice has called a ‘cult empire’.

Hines dives right into her curiosity around the creepy repercussions of internet culture on IRL relationships and how that led her to explore, report on, and be invited into Jeff and Shaleia’s home where she filmed the duo. You can watch that footage in the docuseries.

For now, take a listen for the inside scoop on the culty couple.

Episode available since October 23, 2023

Oct 17, 2023

Around the Web, Around the World

A Little Bit Culty

Healing In Public: Sarma Melngailis on Life After Netflix

Just before Netflix premiered its sensational docuseries “Bad Vegan,” Sarma Melngailis spoke exclusively with ALBC about all the shit she endured with culty conman Mr. So-called Fox. Go back and check out that episode for the grisly details and now foreboding hope that Netflix would shed light – not shade – on the confounding circumstances that led to the demise of Sarma’s brand One Lucky Duck and her beloved restaurant Pure Food and Wine. If you didn’t already know it, Pure Food and Wine was hip, sexy, nutritious, and delicious. It was raw vegan food with style in Gramercy Park. Manhattan where, on any given night, you could run into Janet Jackson, Bill Clinton, Stevie Wonder, or Alec Baldwin. It was the shit. Until it wasn’t.

Netflix was ready.

Through all the pomp and circumstance, we at ALBC can’t help but look into the dark side of cult survivor narratives turned entertainment. Now that the trauma-coaster of “Bad Vegan” has slowed, we thought it important to let Sarma set the record straight.

Check it out.

NOTES:Sarma Melngailis is brilliant. She grew up in Newton, MA, graduated with two economics degrees including one from the Wharton School. She rocked the financial world at Bear Stearns and Bain Capital. And she dabbled in high-yield investment funds before realizing finance in late-stage capitalism fuckin sucks so she left to get a degree in feeding people from the French Culinary Institute. Thus began her life in the world of food. Upon discovering raw vegan food, she decided – with a partner – to open Pure Food and Wine; chronicled her transition from eating whatever/everything to eating only raw vegan food in Raw Food Real World; and then wrote Living Raw Food. Now, she lives in Harlem with her rescue dog, Leon. We love ‘em both dearly.

Episode available since October 16, 2023

Oct 10, 2023


Around the Web, Around the World

A Little Bit Culty

Unsilenced: Meg Appelgate on the Troubled Teen Industry

As a teen, Meg Appelgate was gooned – that is, legally kidnapped – from her home in the middle of the night and taken to a lockdown facility in Idaho, then shipped to Montana where isolation, chemical sedation, and brainwashing were the norm…for a day of underage drinking. She survived and went on to develop and recruit for similar organizations. Then she woke up and channeled her indignation toward making positive change.

Right now, anywhere from 120,000 to 200,000 or more young people are institutionalized as private equity firms rake in tens of billions of dollars from the “Troubled Teen Industry.” Meg Appelgate shares her story and how Unsilenced, the organization she founded, can help.


Meg Appelgate is a survivor determined to empower other survivors of institutional child abuse. She’s founder and CEO of Unsilenced, a non-profit org serving victims caught in the web of the Troubled Teen Industry. She’s also VP, Trustee, and Managing Director of the Gochnauer Family Foundation that provides financial help for families and children. She serves on the boards of a domestic violence shelter and a therapeutic riding center. When she’s not funding and implementing new ideas to help people thrive, Meg loves to explore new places with her husband and four children.

Episode available since October 09, 2023

Oct 3, 2023


Around the Web, Around the World

A Little Bit Culty

Shiny Happy Warrior: Lindsey Williams on the IBLP

Have you seen Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets on Prime yet? Ooooof! We have and it’s really, really good. Also hard to watch. Also a bit infuriating. In other words: A culty docuseries. If you’ve already followed the Duggars, the reality TV mega-family behind the hit show 19 Kids and Counting, you know it’s all a lot to process. Shiny Happy People gets deep into the weeds of the story behind their story: Chock-full of disturbing insights into their scandals, their demons, and the radical organization underpinning the whole shitshow. That would be the Institute in Basic Life Principles, an evangelical Christian ministry on steroids.

Lindsey Williams is featured in Shiny Happy People, and is here to talk with us in this episode about her experience as a former IBLP member, and her personal journey from dug in to “fuck this I’m out.” Our chat covers IBLP founder Bill Gothard and his deranged dogma, what it was like living in the orbit of the embattled Duggar clan, and how Lindsey is doing now that she’s a self-proclaimed Shiny Happy Warrior for cult awareness.

And just as a heads up, please know that this IBLP organization has some seriously shady philosophies on things like sexual abuse, so this episode may get into gritty territory. Listen with care.

Episode available since October 02, 2023

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