With the arrest of NXIVM higher-up Allison Mack, the group is gaining more attention. Learn more about the sex cult that’s members are finally feeling free to speak out against.
1. Multiple former members have accused NXIVM of holding themselves and others as “sex slaves”. And their captors allegedly included Smallville actress Allison Mack. Women who joined NXIVM (pronounced “nexium”) were allegedly put on an 800 calorie diet, required to do sexual acts, take nude photos, and were shockingly branded below their hip during special ceremonies, according to a former member who spoke to The New York Times and showed them her brand.
2. NXIVM is led by Keith Raniere, who is currently imprisoned on charges of sex trafficking. Keith was arrested in Mexico, where he fled after The New York Times exposé on NXIVM. Keith is a self-described “scientist, mathematician, philosopher, entrepreneur, educator, inventor and author” who has “devoted his life to studying the human psychodynamic and developing new tools for human empowerment, expression and ethics.”
Per the criminal complaint lobbed against the NXIVM “vanguard,” he allegedly oversaw a “barbaric” system in which women were allegedly told that they needed to submit as sex slaves overseen by “masters.” The women were allegedly told they needed to have sex with Keith and were subjected to humiliating ordeals. The women were allegedly blackmailed to stay quiet about NXIVM, or their nude photos would be released.
3. NXIVM claims they’re a self-help group and a multi-level marketing organization. If you asked anyone currently involved with NXIVM, they would never say that they’re known as a “sex cult.” Per the group’s website, NXIVM is about “working together to build a better world.” The company was founded by Keith Raniere and Nancy Salzman in 1998, and offered “executive success classes” at their headquarters in Albany, New York. The group now has locations across the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
Their mission statement reads: “NXIVM is a community guided by humanitarian principles that seek to empower people and answer important questions about what it means to be human. The NXIVM philosophy is expressed through a series of companies and initiatives, all of which were designed to broaden the way we currently think about problems, and to help create solutions for a kinder, more sustainable, ethical world. With unique tools that facilitate success, both internally and externally, NXIVM helps people realize the potential that exists within them.”
4. Allison Mack attempted to recruit famous women to join NXIVM. This includes one of the most famous actresses in the world — Meryl Streep — as seen in a tweet Allison sent to her several years ago. No, Meryl didn’t bite. Allison also tried to persuade Emma Watson, Pi star Samia Shoaib, and Kelly Clarkson to join NXIVM. She was unsuccessful.
Allison sent a number of tweets to Emma over two years ago, and in each, she seemed to get more desperate for her attention. “.@EmWatson I’m a fellow actress like yourself & involved in an amazing women’s movement I think you’d dig. I’d love to chat if you’re open.” she wrote in January 2016. “.@EmWatson I participate in a unique human development & women’s movement I’d love to tell you about. As a fellow actress I can relate so….@EmWatson well to your vision and what you want to see in the world. I think we could work together. Let me know if you’re willing to chat,” she again tweeted. Odd, right?
.@EmWatson I'm a fellow actress like yourself & involved in an amazing women's movement I think you'd dig. I'd love to chat if you're open.
— Allison Mack (@allisonmack) January 24, 2016
.@EmWatson well to your vision and what you want to see in the world. I think we could work together. Let me know if you're willing to chat
— Allison Mack (@allisonmack) February 19, 2016
5. Allison Mack has now been arrested, too, on charges of sex trafficking and forced labor. Those charges could lead to a sentence of life in prison. Allison has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and was released to her parents in California on a $5 million bond. She is not allowed to leave the house besides for court-related reasons, and cannot use the internet or phone.
In a Brooklyn court during an April 20 hearing, assistant US attorney Moira Penza said, “Ms. Mack was one of the top members of a highly organized scheme which was designed to provide sex to [Raniere]. Under the guise of female empowerment, she starved women until they fit her co-defendant’s sexual feminine ideal.” No word on a court date for sentencing yet.