Self-help guru Jay Shetty — who officiated Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez wedding — lied about past, plagiarized social media posts: report

New York Post/March 1, 2024

By Ariel Ziber

Jay Shetty, the self-help podcaster and bestselling author whose Hollywood status led him to officiate the wedding of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, plagiarized social media posts and lied about key aspects of his life while climbing the ladder to stardom, according to a damning exposé.

Shetty, the author of bestselling books “Think Like a Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day” and “8 Rules of Love: How to Find It, Keep It, and Let It Go,” falsely claimed to have spent three years in a temple in India, according to a report by the British newspaper the Guardian.

The host of the popular “On Purpose” podcast, whose guests have included the likes of Michelle Obama and other celebrities, has also concealed his past affiliation with a Hare Krishna sect, members of which were once accused of child sexual assault and corporal punishment, it was reported.

Shetty also appears to have misrepresented certain aspects of his biography, including the anecdote about how his life was changed at the age of 18 when he heard a lecture by a monk, the report alleged.

Shetty’s resume includes a degree in behavioral science from a business school that doesn’t even offer it, the Guardian reported.

The report alleged that Shetty’s life-coaching school, the Jay Shetty Certification School, charges thousands of dollars while claiming that enrollment offers students “progression arrangements” with British universities — all of which deny any link to the school.

Shetty markets himself as a “Vedic monk” while neglecting to mention that he spent years growing up in the International Society for Krishna Consciousness — or Iskcon, a movement that attracts devotees who eschew drugs, alcohol, illicit sex and other vices as a way to reach spiritual enlightenment.

In the 1970s and ’80s, children who were sent to boarding schools in the US and India that were run by the movement were reportedly subjected to widespread physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

Shetty does not highlight this aspect of his spiritual upbringing while espousing a secular form of spirituality that relies on “pop psychology,” according to the Guardian.

According to Shetty, he was a normal Brit of Indian extraction who was on the verge of entering the corporate world while enrolled at business school.

But a lecture by a monk inspired him to abandon that life path in favor of an austere living as a penniless spiritual student in India for three years.

The spiritual and religious epiphanies that he experienced during his time at an ashram outside Mumbai led him to spread the gospel to the masses — resulting in the formation of his media empire.

Shetty’s ex-girlfriend also disputes part of the claim. She told the Guardian that Shetty spent the majority of those three years as a monk in Watford, a town just outside London, and only visited India occasionally.

Lawyers for Shetty told the Guardian that his time as a monk began in May 2010, when he moved into Bhaktivedanta Manor in Watford. Three months later, he moved to India, his lawyers said.

“Mr. Shetty spent most of his time in India with trips back to Bhaktivedanta Manor as Mr. Shetty was encouraged by his mentors at the monasteries in India to spend time serving in the community where he was raised,” the attorneys said.

Shetty “lived and traveled across India, the UK and Europe” during the period when he was a monk, according to his lawyers.

The Guardian also cited an interview that Shetty gave to an Iskcon-affiliated news site which quotes him as saying that “we can connect people across the world with Krishna consciousness, and start a revolution online” with blogs, videos, social media posts and “presentations at universities” as a way to reach “the Apple generation.”

But Shetty’s lawyers denied that “converting people to ‘Krishna consciousness'” was their client’s aim.

His book “Think Like a Monk” is a means for “sharing the ancient wisdom he learned as a monk in a practical, accessible, relevant, and transformational way.”

After his experience at Iskcon, Shetty gained a mass following on Facebook and YouTube by posting self-help content.

But much of the content was authored by Iskcon youth who were not credited by Shetty.

Shetty also had the content posted by Iskcon members who were not paid for their work, it was alleged in the report.

“Mr. Shetty did ask and encourage friends to post, share, like, and subscribe to his content,” according to Shetty’s lawyers.

“Some friends assisted Mr. Shetty with filming and editing. Mr. Shetty did not make promises or represent to individuals or organizations that they would be paid for posting, sharing, liking and subscribing to his content.”

The Post has sought comment from Shetty.

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