Netflix is being sued over footage used in the controversial documentary Wild Wild Country.
The six part docuseries premiered on the streaming giant in 2018, and details the rise and spectacular fall of the Rajneeshpuram commune during the 1980s under the stewardship of the documentary’s central figure, Ma Anand Sheela, an acolyte of cult leader Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, known as Osho.
The bizarre story made it the topic of watercooler and online discussions everywhere for months, turning it into a hit for Netflix.
Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Osho International Foundation and filmmaker Michael Hillow claim footage used in the docuseries featuring cult leader Osho was taken without their permission and they want Netflix to pay up.
The complaint, filed on Friday, hinges on more than 88 scenes they say were culled from Hillow’s 1993 documentary Rajneeshpuram an Experiment to Provoke God and three recordings of Osho’s sermons made by Osho International, that all allegedly appear in Wild Wild Country.
The latest documentary from Netflix looks inside a cult that took over a small US town.
Netflix had not responded to the claims at the time of writing.
In June 2018, website Osho.com ran a story about Hillow’s documentary calling it “a real jewel, a must-see for anyone who is not deeply asleep”.
“This one-hour documentary is neither an antidote to WWC [Wild Wild Country] nor a response to the lurid sensationalism of the Netflix series. Nor is it a PR puff piece produced by the ashram [commune] for sannyasins [followers of Osho] and their friends and relatives, or for newcomers to Osho’s world. None of the above,” the article said.
“It is historical in scope, framing a chapter of profound spiritual evolution with Osho at its core. The title comes from Osho’s famous quote from Sufis: The People of the Path, vol. 2: ‘And this whole experiment is to bring a kind of Buddhahood into the world. This commune is not an ordinary commune. This is an experiment to provoke God.'”
There is no mention of Netflix’ use of the images Hillow and Osho International claim are theirs in the article.
Rajneeshpuram an Experiment to Provoke God is available on Amazon Prime. Wild Wild Country is still streaming on Netflix.