Docs

Talos to produce docuseries on Liberty University sexual assault scandal

New York-based prodco Talos Films has inked an exclusive access deal with some of the women at the heart of the Liberty University sexual assault scandal for a documentary series ...
November 15, 2021

New York-based prodco Talos Films has inked an exclusive access deal with some of the women at the heart of the Liberty University sexual assault scandal for a documentary series that follows their fight for justice.

The Liberty University Project (w/t) is a limited docuseries being produced in association with Tom Arnold, who was featured in the Gangster Capitalism podcast which brought the stories of many Liberty survivors to light and helped bring about a lawsuit. In 2018, Arnold teamed with Vice Media on the eight-episode The Hunt for the Trump Tapes for Viceland.

The ongoing scandal at Liberty University, which was founded by Southern Baptist preacher Jerry Falwell, has revealed several cases of alleged sexual assault over the last two decades, in which the university took no meaningful action against the alleged perpetrators and sought to dismiss the claims of the victims. Now 22 former students have joined a legal case against the university and are calling for change to the institutional culture and policies that allowed the alleged abuse to happen. In their lawsuit, the women say Liberty University put them at risk in part because its code of conduct emphasizes sexual purity, arguing that the establishment’s rules on sexual behavior created a culture that fostered sexual violence and even punished women for reporting it.

The series will also examine the dark side of the influence and power wielded by the University founded by Falwell in 1971 and headed by his son Jerry Falwell Jr. until his recent resignation in the spring of 2021 following his own sex scandal.

Arnold is executive producing the docuseries alongside Talos Films co-founders Elli Hakami and Julian P. Hobbs.

“Talos is honored to be documenting this courageous group of women who have gone public despite the trauma they have suffered, as they not only fight for justice for themselves, but also attempt to force Liberty University to change its policies and ensure no other women have to suffer similar abuse and cover-ups,” said Hakami in a release.

“I’m doing this documentary to start a transformation on all college campuses, across the nation, so the kids that will come after me don’t suffer, or struggle the way I did, and still do. I’m doing this to help create a better, safer future that holds people accountable,” said Heather Wendel, originally known as “Jane Doe 13″ in the lawsuit (pictured left).

Added Chelsea Andrews, “Jane Doe 7″ in the lawsuit (pictured right): “Safety for victimized students at Liberty University has been my number one concern in coming forward now — from writing a petition to the General Counsel this May to being in the first cohort of the lawsuit. This documentary will assure my assault and this moment of justice are not covered up.”

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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