Get ready to dive into the world of the Hillsong Church.
On Monday, June 21, it was reported that Discovery+ is moving forward with a three-episode docuseries focusing on the headline-making mega church and its former pastor, Carl Lentz. According to Deadline, who broke the news, the new series, titled Breaking Hillsong, will take a closer look at the controversies surrounding the Australian-based church known for its celebrity attendees.
The latest Discovery+ project has come about thanks to the streaming service's partnership with the New York Post and Hannah Frishberg, an investigative journalist who has covered news regarding the church and Lentz. Per the report, Breaking Hillsong will feature current and former members who've spoken out against misconduct and abuse in the religious institution.
The series will also include a never-before-seen interview with Ranin Karim, who allegedly had an affair with Lentz before his firing.
As E! News readers well know, the disgraced religious leader was fired in November 2020 from Hillsong East Coast, which was the New York-based church. During that time, Hillsong Church co-founder Brian Houston noted in a statement that Lentz's firing came about following "leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures." Lentz later admitted to being unfaithful to his wife, Laura.
In December 2020, Page Six reported that a leaked audio recording featured Houston alleging that Lentz had "more than one affair" and that a "staff member found a very compromising chain of text messages on Carl's laptop." E! News did not obtain the recording and neither man has commented on the report.
Lentz was later accused of sexual abuse by Leona Kimes, the Hillsong Church Boston co-pastor and former nanny for the Lentz family. In an essay, titled "Writing My Voice Back" on Medium, Kimes claimed she was "subjected to manipulation, control, bullying, abuse of power, and sexual abuse" during her time working for Lentz as a nanny.
While she didn't initially name Lentz in her essay, she later confirmed her piece was about the pastor to Religion News Service. In response to these allegations, a rep for Lentz and his wife said they "vehemently deny the allegations and, in addition to that, have irrefutable proof the events did not happen as they are being described."
In addition to the Lentz scandal, the church has faced other controversies, including the closing of the Dallas branch after the resignation of its lead pastor, who was reviewed over an alleged "failure to uphold the standards of Hillsong leadership."
We wonder, will three episodes be enough to unpack all of this? Guess we'll have to wait and see.