"NXIVM is a community driven by humanitarian principles, seeking to empower people and respond to important questions about what it means to be human …. With unique tools that promote success, internally and externally, NXIVM helps people to realize the potential they have in themselves. "
This is how the NXIVM group is described on their websites as a self-help group. It turns out, however, that the truth will be quite different, after the FBI is investigating the group, the founder and several of the members last year.
At the end of March last year, the home of alleged cult leader Keith Raniere (58) was set up by the FBI, and soon after he was arrested by federal police in Mexico.
A month later, "Smallville" actor Allison Mack (36) was arrested and charged with trafficking. Mack was guilty of the case earlier this month, risking 15 to 40 years in prison when the final verdict falls in September.
Raniere is charged with several offenses, including sex trafficking, blackmail and possession of child pornography, when the trial against him begins later this month. He denies it all.
However, several women argued and told how he organized a secret sex cult with several female "slaves."
Secret female group
In March 2016, five women gathered in a house near Albany, New York, to become members of the secret DOS women's group under the NXIVM organization. They were told that the group was meant to empower women.
One of five women, Canadian actress Sarah Edmondson (41), has recently emerged with her story.
For more than a decade, she attended NXIVM courses with her husband when she was offered to participate in DOS. According to the Independent, the group operated with several levels of female "slaves" led by "masters".
Edmondson was recruited to DOS by Lauren Salzman, daughter of one of NXIVM's co-founders, Nancy Salzman, and thus had a top position in the NXIVM organization.
The 41-year-old looked at Salzman, telling the New York Times that Salzman was a "rock star" in the organization.
Salzman may have told Edmondson that DOS members had to overcome the typical weaknesses of women, such as hypersensitivity, difficulty keeping promises, and embracing the role of victims.
The women's group consisted of several "circles," where each was led by a so-called "master" who recruited five women each to their own personal "circle."
Marked with initials
Edmondson and the other four women arrived at Salzman's house that day in March 2016. They were invited to undress before they first saw each other during a candlelight ceremony. Then they were taken to a house nearby where they were marked for life.
One by one, the six women were bare and burned with a cautery tool, without anesthesia.
The first woman at the table shrieked and writhed in pain. And the woman I was with, I held my legs. We looked at each other and just cried, Edmondson said in an interview with ABC News in 2017.
The actor described it as a "horror film" and said the pain was "worse than giving birth". She should have been informed that the mark was a Latin character, before recognizing the letters K and R, which she interpreted as Ranieres's initials.
When I did, I lost my head. I'm not cattle. I'm not Keith's property, she said in the interview.
According to the New York Times, about 16,000 people attended courses offered by the NXIVM since the mid-1990s. While many only took a few courses, several were dragged into NXIVM, giving up their careers, friends and family.
In the secret DOS women's group, women should have recruited other women under false pretenses to perform sexual services. The cult should have a clear distinction between members of different degrees, where one could be "slave" or "master." To scale the system, other women had to be recruited to be called "slaves."
The only male member of the secret female group, Keith Raniere, was expected to have between 15 and 20 sex partners, with whom he switched sex. Actor Allison Mack was well below him in the rankings after recruiting several women.
The women should have been ordered to refer to Raniere as "The Vanguard" and were marked with their initials. They too should have been forced to perform heavy physical work and follow extreme diets to keep what Keith Raniere saw as "attractive physics."
The pressure to follow orders
Allison Mack, who played the role of Chloe Sullivan in "Smallville" from 2001 to 2011, according to The Telegraph previously explained that she found her way to NXIVM after hearing about her work through a girlfriend.
Over the years, she became more and more involved in the organization and also became a senior member of the DOS group.
With her Hollywood past, she sought out many, and in 2016 she tried, among others, to recruit "Harry Potter" star Emma Watson (28) on Twitter.
"I'm an actor like you and involved in a wonderful women's movement that I think you like. If you would like to talk to you, if you are free, she wrote.
Two unidentified women claimed in 2018 that Mack, directly or implicitly, required them to engage in sexual activity with Raniere. The women say they were being pushed to follow the orders, because DOS had compromising information about them.
– The victims were exploited sexually and for their work. Mack and other "lords" recruited "slaves" saying they joined a women's organization that would strengthen them and remove the weaknesses that the NXIVM curriculum said were commonplace in women, prosecutors said in 2018.
Mack should have required the women she recruited to get sexually involved with Raniere, who in turn paid Mack for his recruiting job.
I think it's cool.
Concerns about NXIVM should have arisen in 2003 when billionaire Edgar Bronfman told Forbes magazine he was concerned about the involvement of his daughters in the organization.
"I think it's cool," he said.
Clare Bronfman (40) ignored his father's warnings and continued as an active member of NXIVM. In 2010, she staged an extravagant celebration of Ranier's 50th birthday for seven days, and in the same year she was known to have transferred $ 150 million to the NXIVM. This sum included several properties in Albany and a private plane.
The Prison in Mexico
In the following years, there was much to indicate that something unusual was happening, after several newspapers published cases about Raniere. However, it was not until October 2017, after Edmondson interviewed the New York Times that the police intervened.
Edmondson told police that there would be a larger case and deepened the investigation. A few days before the article was published, Raniere traveled to Mexico with his girlfriend and their son. Four months later, he was arrested and taken back to New York.
Lauren Salzman and mother Nancy Salzman were arrested at the same time as Allison Mack, a few months after Raniere. Clare Bronfman and accountant Kathy Russell were also arrested. All five women were not guilty of the charges, but Mack admitted recently. Lauren and Nancy Salzman were also guilty of the case.
Clare Brofman has been as loyal now as when he stood up against his father in 2003.
"I can really say that neither NXICM nor Keith abused anyone.
She describes Raniere as "a man dedicated to improving the lives of others".
But on Friday, however, she went against her own words and said she was guilty of engaging in criminal activities related to the alleged sex culture. He writes among other things CNN.
Become a documentary
Recently, Deadline was able to report that HBO Documentary Films is in the process of producing a series of documentaries that will address the cult mentioned above.
In the documentary, several people involved in the organization must speak and share their experiences.
Producers Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer will do the documentary, and the former became involved in NXIVM – and, among other things, completed an introductory course. That should have piqued your interest.
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