Jared Leto performs with Thirty seconds to Mars in ~ the LA Forum, December 2018. (Kevin Winter/Getty images for KROQ/Entercom)

In the center of August,Thirty secs to Mars—the rock band Jared Leto has fronted since 1998—returned indigenous an island retreat they"d hosted in Croatia for hundreds of fans and proudly posted photosthat had a distinctly peoples Temple vibe. (Well, if anyone at the individuals Temple had actually been white, anyway.)

The pictures showed Leto act his best Jesus impersonation in flowing white robes, addressing fans that sat dotingly in ~ his feet, and being followed approximately by hoards of young women. The band captioned the image "Yes, this is a cult."

The band has actually been using that tagline because that years now, on society media, inmerch and in music videos.In 2013, Leto said The new York times Magazine that it was "a joke, a solution to journalists saying, ‘You have actually such a cult following."" This is the an initial time, though, the the band has taken the referral to its most literal conclusion, also though they"ve to be holding "summer camps" since 2015, and taking every opportunity to financially fleece your audience because the very beginning.

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Thirty secs to Mars fans already collectively describe themselves together "the Echelon," and also are a team that appears overwhelmingly immersed no in music nerd-dom, yet rather a more general type of love because that the neighborhood surrounding the band. The four-year-old video below doesn"t stroked nerves itself through the band"s music. Instead, it much more closely resembles a commercial because that a megachurch.

Like plenty of cults, the Echelon espouses an united state vs. Lock mentality via the hashtag #YouWouldntUnderstand, a stop Leto repeats often. The idea has actually pushed supporters to ever an ext fervent levels of devotion any kind of time the band receives any kind of degree of criticism. (Scientology followers have been employing a similar methodology for decades.)

Leto is acutely aware of this level of fan dedication (which is why the band once hosted a competition in which—appropriateness be damned—the prize was a night sleeping in his bed). In 2013, the said, "If civilization like Thirty secs to Mars, castle really, really, really favor it... We have this cult, this family, this believers." It"s this understanding that has given the band a sense of entitlement so ingrained, theyhave been known to specifically request their fansget tattoosin their honor. (Take that,NXIVM!)

Just together cult members often show their devotion by cram money at their preferred group, the most obvious means Leto fans display their appointment is by giving Thirty secs to Mars method too much of their cash. The band"supcomingCamp Mars, taking place between Sept. 7–9 in Malibu, dues $999 for two nights of outdoor camping, and also you have to bring your own tent and also supplies. (The getaway contains daytime outdoor activities like rock-climbing and archery, plus two Thirty seconds to Mars concerts, i beg your pardon the tape calls Church the Mars.)

There room several significantly expensive dorm options, but the only means to sleep in a space that isn"t mutual with strangers is through throwing under $6,499 for a "VIP experience."Day passes execute not market much better value, with prices at $349 because that a show, part snacks and also the cheerful caveat: "This pass does NOT incorporate a picture with the band."

Hardcore Thirty seconds to Mars pan have come to be accustomed to payment hundreds or countless dollars because that crumbs. This is a tape that has actually chargedup to $900 for meet and greetsin which castle are occasionally removed come the allude of precise wearing surgical gloves. (To put that in perspective, One Direction used to fee $658, Rihanna was still just charging $116in 2015 and also Taylor Swift has a plan of no charging pan to fulfill her in ~ all.)One that the great ironies of all this is the Leto claimed the tape "anti-greed" in 2013.

The band"s obsession with money is not invisible to their faithful following, but observing fans stating the price of love Thirty secs to Mars online can be rattling. Over there is a feeling that while several of them feeling ripped off, lock are also fearful of completely expressing your disillusionment. In a prolonged article around the tightening of restrictions during signing sessions with the band, one blogger wrote: "The 10 secs it took for them to sign PLUS the couple of minutes they’d avoid in bespeak to collect the present you lugged them... Seems short for the amount of money... Yet it to be usually quite fun." another wrote: "I paid 250$ just to have early on entry . Over priced, however, it was the best show ever."

In enhancement to the evident financial benefits, wrapped up in every one of this cult organization is Jared Leto"s untethered self-absorption. In 2013, Leto visited the problem of purchase the rights to goofy modeling photos indigenous his My So-Called Life days and then obtaining them scrubbed from the web by threaten legal action.

Music journalistRaziq Rauftold yellowcomic.com: "After Leto sent out cease and desist letter to some of his fans, I determined the photos. Ns duly received really threatening legit notices of mine own, so ceased and desisted. If it to be amusing, Leto is a an extremely wealthy and powerful man with really wealthy and an effective people in his team. He"s the one percent and I couldn"t complete with that."

It to be a moment that demonstrated how much Leto"s narcissism stretches beyond the border of normal celebrity.

A criticism frequently leveled in ~ Thirty secs to Mars at an early stage in the band"s job was the they more closely resembled actors play rock star dress-up 보다 an actual, real-life band.Despite continuous criticism native music journalists that the band"s sound is "hollow and emotionally one-note" (last year, Spin defined Leto"s lyrics as "meaningless word salad"), pretending to be a absent star for long enough did eventually an outcome in Leto coming to be just that.

So could Leto"s persistent assertion that he"s the leader that a cult median that as well is finally becoming a reality? If one considers the band"s whole history, Thirty seconds to Mars forming a cult doesn"t just seem choose a reasonable possibility—it feels virtually like one inevitability.

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