Below, my most recent Instagram post:
On August 31st, I received a “cease and desist” letter from the lawyer of my former “teacher” (aka, the cult leader).
When I ignored the letter and continued to post on Instagram, this lawyer sent two more emails to both me and my husband, in one of them letting my husband know that he had a stake in this too, because he could lose his money and our house if we ended up in a lawsuit and lost.
Perhaps the cult leader thought I was afraid of lawyers, since last fall when she threatened lawyers on us for the podcast I made, I acquiesced and took the podcast down. But the reason I took the podcast down was not because I was afraid of lawyers, it was because I figured everyone who was going to listen to the podcast had already listened to it, and I was also utterly exhausted and destabilized from spending two years in a cult.
So this time, I hired my own lawyers.
One lovely thing that I learned from speaking with lawyers is that the clause in Cult Leader’s contract that I signed, the one that says, and I quote, “You agree not to disparage me, my body of work, or my business, orally or in writing. This includes a promise not to publicly demonize, defame, or do anything that would do harm to me, my family, my business, my team or any of my clients.” .. is actually against the law in the United States.
In 2016 Congress passed something called the Consumer Review Fairness Act, which makes it so that businesses cannot prevent clients from sharing negative experiences with their business.
It turns out there are many aspects of the law that prevent people from silencing other people’s right to free speech, and this is just one of them.
So all year I had been thinking I signed my voice away… but that’s actually not true.
I want anyone else in this situation to know that if you’re scared and think you signed your voice away too, that you actually did no such thing.
There were many interesting parts of this cease & desist letter, but one part caught my eye the most.
It said (referring to my stay at cult leader’s house):
“During Demetra’s stay, she witnessed a private, personal family event that Demetra subsequently disclosed in a public podcast dedicated to the disparagement of my clients for Demetra’s own business gain.”
This made me wonder. I thought, I haven’t even listened to my podcast again since I posted it, the letter says it, so I must have done that.
Let me make this very clear: I was so gaslit from her (what I would consider to be extreme) response to my podcast last fall that I thought, I must have done what this letter says I did.
So I went back and listened to my podcast. I then got the transcript of my podcast and read through the whole thing, multiple times.
I kept looking, thinking, but wait.. where is the part where I said all the mean, terrible things?
It never came, because I never did that.
When I stayed at her house for 5 days, I did witness Cult Leader scream at and berate her husband in a manner that in my opinion was abusive, but I never told anybody that publicly.
That was because this “event” was the cherry on top of many other things I witnessed that resulted in me concluding that she is the opposite of everything she teaches. (Others’ stories I’ve heard since I left have more than confirmed this for me).
But when I left, she told everyone that this event was the sole reason that I didn’t like her, and that I just couldn’t deal with her “being a human.” (Which turns out, is what a lot of cult leaders term abuse). Everyone in the cult got to participate in calls where they blamed me leaving on my various personal traumas and failures.
So, who knows if she knows this letter was lying or not, but I’d venture to guess that she is so disturbed that she thinks I told everybody all these details about her, when really it was just something she repeated so many times that it became true in her mind.
Anyway, after I listened to my podcast, I realized I never did anything wrong, so I decided to put my podcast back up.
It’s up on “The Demetra Gray Show” on all platforms with a new intro, where I tell you how I feel about it now.