Reading Time: 4 minutes

On Wednesday, NBC’s streaming service Peacock released a six-part documentary series called Shadowland in which a team led by filmmaker Joe Berlinger shadows people responsible for and affected by various conspiracy theories.

From that vantage point, the show “reveals how conspiracy theories have moved from the margins to the mainstream, exploring how people come to their beliefs… and what makes these theories so alluring.”

YouTube video

One of the subjects in Shadowland is Christian hate-preacher Greg Locke, of Global Vision Bible Church in Tennessee, whose story is shown primarily in the second and third episodes of the series. (I make an unexpected cameo in the series; a clip from one of my YouTube videos about Locke is used in Episode 2.)

As someone who’s written about Locke for years, and after watching both of those episodes, I can safely say it gives viewers a fairly accurate picture of Locke. He’s a confident speaker who realized years ago that trolling liberals was far more powerful and appealing than talking about Jesus. He openly brags on camera about how the anti-gay and anti-trans videos he posted on Facebook helped his page get verified and gain tens of thousands of followers in a relatively short amount of time.

The show also includes footage of Locke chumming it up with Republican operative and convicted felon Roger Stone before Stone’s appearance at his church. The show includes footage of him burning books in a bonfire. Locke openly speaks to the producers about how COVID is a hoax and how Bill Gates and George Soros helped “steal” the 2020 election. He also shows some fear about getting subpoenaed over the January 6 insurrection attempt, though that has never transpired because Locke, as far as we know, wasn’t involved in the organizing nor did he enter the Capitol. (In a book he published this summer, Locke suggested the whole insurrection was a hoax.)

The point is: If you knew nothing about Greg Locke before watching Shadowland, you would come away with a fair snapshot of what he’s usually like. He’s a guy who uses Christianity to spread conservative propaganda and right-wing conspiracy theories, and he doesn’t care how many people he hurts along the way.

There are no “hot mic” moments when Locke says anything surprising. There’s no need. He says plenty of insane things when the camera is right in his face.

And yet, last night, Locke told his congregation that the documentary purposely made him look bad and that the filmmakers were as horrible as Christian preachers who don’t share his extreme and hateful views.

You know, when you go home tonight, anybody got Peacock? It’s like Netflix, you know, pay to play subscription. Our show drops today. Six-part series called Shadowland. We’re in the first of the six, but our church is predominantly in the second and third episode. They end with, like, a six-minute clip of me. Wayne shared it with me.

We going to lay in bed with some ice cream and watch it tonight. Amen.

But you know what they did? It’s interesting, and I expect this from lost people. They did everything against us that they promised they wouldn’t do. Made us look like idiots. Made us look like insurrectionist, QAnon conspiracy theorists. Whatever. Turned mics on backstage. Tried to get me on a hot mic. Tried to do anything they can. They ain’t got nothing on us.

One of our ex-staff members sold ’em footage from January 6 of me with a bullhorn… standing on a trailer, preaching at the Capitol, which, as Paul said, “I repent not.”

Somebody’s gotta stand up and save this wicked nation.

But it’s interesting how they spin a narrative. I’m really interested in, like Chapter Two and Chapter Three, the different episodes, where this is going. I mean, they followed me around for, like, two months, right? I’m interested. They went to restaurants with us. I mean, they went everywhere. They did, like, everything but watch me blow my nose… and probably got that on a mic somewhere, right?

But it’s interesting how they take a narrative and they spin it wildly out of control.

And you know what? I’ll watch it tonight and laugh. But you know what I don’t laugh at? When these preachers do it, because they’re just as guilty as the rest of them. Fake news.

I will say this again: The filmmakers gave Locke plenty of time to speak. They showed footage from his church services as well as one-on-one interviews in which he elaborated on the same subjects. They don’t put words into his mouth.

Locke says the filmmakers made his church “look like idiots” but most of the footage was of Locke preaching. It’s not like the filmmakers added their own narration. They didn’t make him look like a conspiracy theorist; he is one. They simply held up a camera in front of Locke’s face and pushed “record.”

There’s nothing in the series that would shock anyone who’s watched him flail during a CNN interview or insist that people wearing masks were banned from entering his circus tent church.

As usual, Greg Locke makes Greg Locke look bad, and Shadowland just reveals that to a different audience.

Locke, of course, should’ve seen all this coming. He knew when he was wearing a microphone and when the cameras were on. He must have known what the series was about. He agreed to appear on camera because he believes all attention is good attention.

He also knows that pretending to be persecuted is a crowd-pleaser for white evangelicals. That’s why no one should be surprised that he’s whining about a documentary series he volunteered to participate in and that depicted him fairly. He knows virtually no one in his church will actually watch the show. It’s a lot easier, then, to just tell them the filmmakers were mean to him. Locke knows they’ve never going to check for themselves.

Avatar photo

Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.