NXIVM founder Keith Raniere spoke out for the first time since being charged with sex trafficking, racketeering, and forced labor to proclaim his innocence.
“Yes, I am innocent,” he told Dateline. “And although it is — this is a horrible tragedy, with many, many people being hurt, I think the main thrust of this has been the oppression.”
Here are all the dark details about the organization federal prosecutors have described as a “sexual pyramid scheme.”
What is Nxivm?
Raniere and Nancy Salzman founded NXIVM, a personal development company in 1998, offering “Executive Success Programs” that reportedly attracted the Hollywood elite including Smallville actress Allison Mack, heiresses, the co-founder of BET, and a former U.S. Surgeon General.
View this post on Instagram
From brainwashing women into becoming his slaves to branding their flesh with his initials, Keith Raniere led his NXIVM cult with brutal precision for 20 years, until being arrested in 2018. But he wasn’t acting alone. Raniere managed to convince celebrities like “Smallville” actress Allison Mack to help him fulfill his twisted fantasies — and recruit other women to be his slaves. In fact, Mack later claimed that she came up with the idea of branding the women herself. Discover the disturbing story of sex, celebrity, and psychological torture inside the NXIVM cult by visiting the link in our profile. #wtf #cults #nxivm #allisonmack #keithraniere #crime #crimestories
Within the organization, Raniere created a secret society known as the acronym DOS for the Latin phrase “Dominus Obsequious Sororium,” which reportedly translates to “Master of the Obedient Female Companions.”
.@HBODocs' #TheVow is a gripping and immersive look at the "self-help" group #NXVIM. It features an astonishing amount of footage from inside the cult, including #AllisonMack's first meeting with #KeithRaniere. Review: https://t.co/SNVl9I0Aj4 pic.twitter.com/7ErYq2M1uW
— Kristen Baldwin (@KristenGBaldwin) August 19, 2020
Raniere heralded himself as the Vanguard, a title adopted from a video game that meant he was in a position of absolute power, and expected students to refer to him as such. Salzman was titled Prefect, second in charge of the organization, and Mack was allegedly second in command of the DOS.
View this post on Instagram
Watching #HBO’s documentary #TheVow. A pretty scary look at the #nxivm cult and masters of mind control. Once of the super upsetting things is how #MikeVicente (one of the producers of the great documentary #whatthebleepdoweknow) got sucked in deep. Maybe the answer to life is NOT to look for is perfection but to just fuck up and pick yourself up on your own like the rest of us do. There are no shortcuts to the path of ultimate happiness. #KeithRaniere
Mack reportedly recruited female members of NXIVM to the DOS pyramid to become sexual ‘slaves’ to Raniere, who could in turn recruit additional slaves for whom they would then own as ‘masters.’
Allison Mack just left federal court in Brooklyn. She entered a plea to racketeering charges in connection to an alleged sex cult called NXIVM. She’s accused of recruiting sex slaves for its spiritual leader, Keith Raniere. pic.twitter.com/hI5xR387xf
— Kevin Rincon (@KevRincon) April 8, 2019
The women were reportedly made to turn over personally damaging “collateral” like nude photos upon joining, which would be later used to blackmail them if they refused to pleasure Raniere sexually.
— Mon SDV (@brasileiro1914) October 25, 2020
DOS members were reportedly blindfolded and held down naked on a massage table, while their masters used a cauterizing device to brand them with a symbol that contained Raniere’s initials near their pelvic area.
A fantastic read that talks about NXIVM, the cult where the owner Keith Raniere got arrested for sec trafficking and branding women! #nxivm #sextrafficking #goodread #keithraniere #cagherineoxenberg #indiaoxenberg #branding https://t.co/ttKNiuq3RK pic.twitter.com/Gm0qbWx2TZ
— A-Team.HsV (@ateam_hsv) October 26, 2020
Members of the DOS allegedly were forced to go on starvation diets to meet Raniere’s requirements for the ideal female body type. They reportedly would pay tribute to Raniere by attending his NXIVM meetings naked and sitting on the floor while he spoke.
— BloGoal (@BloGoalcom) October 20, 2020
Lauren Salzman, Nancy’s daughter and a high-ranking master in the DOS, testified to forcing one of her ‘slaves’ into solitary confinement for two years for gaining weight and admitting to having interest in another man.
Nancy and Lauren Salzman, along with Mack, pleaded guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy charges in order to avoid trial, they await sentencing. Raniere was found guilty on all charges and is expected to be sentenced on October 27th.
#nancysalzman claimed to be the hardest working employee of #NXIVM. She nicknamed herself the "Energizer Bunny." I beg to differ. She earned the majority of her pay by sleeping on the job, as seen here in #TheVow. pic.twitter.com/rFKM983WIT
— Ivy Nevares (@ivynevares) October 20, 2020
Though he maintains his innocence, Raniere apologized in his interview. “I apologize for my participation in all of this pain and suffering. I’ve clearly participated. I’ve been the leader of the community.”
— Mr. Lotion (@KIAsouleater) October 20, 2020