If the world has become too much to bear—and the bots know it from your search history— you will likely find Teal Swan. She will appear, an angel of the algorithms, part icon and part anime avenger. Against a backdrop of flowing water or turning constellations, she will gaze into your despair. She will speak in a drone at once hypnotic and relieving, giving words to feelings you thought were taboo. At 3am, this might feel like mystical luck, but it’s no accident. Swan is open about recruiting suicidal seekers to her content, and she has the tech chops to do it.
Now, with Jon Kasbe’s series, “The Deep End” airing on Hulu, Swan has entered some A-list limelight. But what do we really learn from this docutainment event, radiating out from an embedment in Swan’s inner circle? According to Kasbe’s own words, we don’t learn the “Capital T Truth” of Swan’s day-to-day, but rather the immersive feeling of what it is like to be under her spell.
Or do we? Swan accuses Kasbe of casting his own spell, with deceptive editing that scrambles timelines and conflates interactions, and even different people. And it appears she might not be wrong. We talk to Kasbe in this episode about his vision and blindspots, and the ironic risk of creating a film of Satanic-Panic level false memories about an influencer who says she specializes in retrieving past trauma.
This episode will pilot a series of Patreon bonus episodes in which we’ll study the Teal Swan spectacle in detail, and how important it is to not only report on it well, but to be fair to an influencer like Swan and her dedicated followers, lest they lose even more trust in the real world.
CORRECTION: Matthew referred to Jennings Brown's role on The Deep End production incorrectly during the episode. His title is "Development Executive Producer."
Teal Swan 2014 interview on her backstory.
Teal Swan: Gucci Guru article by Be Scofield
Barbara Snow’s seminal Satanic Panic article: Ritualistic Child Abuse In A Neighborhood Setting
Recovered Memory Therapist Placed on Probation
Teal’s Responses to The Deep End Start HERE
Teal Swan Defense :Testimonial Deep End Defamation—Sylvana Caradonna