News Corp Australia’s Faith on Trial: Hillsong tops Apple Podcasts in Aus and NZ

Faith on Trial: Hillsong

The eight-part podcast explores the story of Hillsong’s founder, Brian Houston

True Crime Australia’s Faith on Trial: Hillsong has hit number one in Australia and NZ on Apple Podcasts weeks after release.

The podcast is expected to have an increase in traffic in its international audience when homepage promotions begin across the platform in the UK, Ireland, Canada, and South Africa.

The podcast, which shines a light on the multi-million dollar Christian phenomenon that grew from humble beginnings in a Sydney warehouse, has sparked widespread investigations probing the Church’s activities.

The eight-part podcast explores how Hillsong’s founder, Brian Houston, became a religious rockstar and how he now faces court over allegations he concealed his father’s child sex crimes.

Throughout the podcast, reporter Stephen Drill tries to answer, how did the church get here?

It has prompted Federal MP Andrew Wilke to call for a NSW Police investigation into Hillsong over allegations uncovered in the podcast that some female students at Hillsong College in Sydney have been taught to physically ‘submit’ to their husbands.

He has also tabled leaked documents to allege Hillsong Church broke financial laws in Australia and around the world.

The unfolding scandal has been followed en-masse by Australia’s media, including the Nine Entertainment Company’s tabloids The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, the Seven Network, The Guardian as well as News Corp Australia’s state-based mastheads such as the Herald Sun, The Daily Telegraph and national broadsheet, The Australian.

News Corp Australia’s general manager commercial networks Ainslee Horstman said the podcast reflected the company’s commitment to telling the stories that matter most to audiences, both in Australia and internationally via Apple’s platform.

“Faith on Trial: Hillsong has hit a raw nerve with audiences because it is a totally fascinating, absorbing yarn which also reflects a deep public interest,” Horstman said

“It is exactly the type of story we specialise in and is the reason why our brands are among the most trusted in the market.”

The podcast has also led to new witnesses and informants coming forward, prompting lead reporter Stephen Drill and producer, Andrea Thiis-Evenson, to continue their investigations while still in production. 

On the back of the podcast, The Australian Skills Quality Authority and Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency have also both said they are looking into the same allegations, while the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission has also confirmed it is investigating Hillsong, following the leak of more than 10,000 Hillsong financial documents, which have been tabled in federal parliament since the podcast series started.

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