026 - PTB discusses Allison Mack, Amelia's tip for recognizing a cult and Hermione Granger
NXIVM was founded in 1998 as a multi-level marketing company that offered "Executive Success Programs" and self improvement seminars. Keith Raniere was one of the founders and he said the purpose of the company was to "have people experience more joy in their lives."
It was a pyramid scheme where those involved called each other Nxians. In 1996 the company said that it wasn’t a pyramid scheme but agreed to pay a 40,000$ fine and was permanently banned from "promoting, offering or granting participation in a chain distribution scheme".
In 2003 nearly 3,700 people had taken their classes.
Details began to emerge in October 2017 when the New York Times wrote an article about DOS, a secret sisterhood within NXIVM where the female members were referred to as ‘slaves’ and were branded with the initials of the founders. They were also beaten and required to hand over nude photos as collateral. DOS stood for a Latin phrase meaning “Lord/Master of the Obedient Female Companions” women were slaves and had masters and were ordered to do sexual things with Keith Ranier the group's leader.
Allison Mack was recruited by another actress and got heavily involved in the cult. She became close with Nancy Salzman, one of the co-founders of NXIVM and she began to recruit other members, including young women. One of these women was Nicole. At the time of the recruitment, Nicole did not know that the all women's group was a group of sex slaves headed up by Keith Ranier, or that she would be branded with his initials. She testified that once she was a part of the group she was told to seduce Ranier and was blindfolded, tied down and told to have oral sex with someone but she had no idea what their identity was. She claimed to have had physical punishments and required to have close up photos of her vulva. Once she was in the group she had to refer to Mack as "master" and always have her phone on for "readiness drills" where if her master texted her she would have to immediately respond.
Mack later plead guilty to conspiracy, extortion and forced labor charges, but not sex trafficking.
Clare Bronfman, the heiress to Seagram, also paid the the legal fees of her accused fellow sex cult members. She was on NXIVM’s executive board and was accused of spending 100 million dollars to fund the cult. She ended up pleading guilty on two counts- conspiracy to conceal and harbor illegal immigrants for financial gain, and fraudulent use of identification.