In late March, a man named Keith Raniere was arrested and charged with sex trafficking for his role in NXIVM, a sex cult he founded in 1998. Since then, there’s been a flurry of reports about other alleged members, with the most recent being Allison Mack, who was arrested last week for allegedly recruiting women to be sex slaves.
Below, here’s everything you need to know about the most recent developments.
First things first: How do you say “NXIVM”?
It’s pronounced “Nexium.”
And what exactly is it?
It’s an Albany-based cult with connections all over the world, that reportedly masquerades as a “self-help” organization, meant to empower women. It was thrust into the spotlight in October 2017, when a New York Times investigation exposed that the women who were involved were referred to as “slaves,” and subject to ritual humiliations and brandings. They were also allegedly told to starve themselves to achieve Raniere’s standard of beauty and to have sex encounters with him.
And he was arrested?
Yes. He is scheduled to appear in Brooklyn federal court this week to request bail.
How did Mack get involved?
According to The New York Post, Mack’s Smallville co-star, Kristin Kreuk, introduced Mack to NXIVM in 2006. While Kreuk admitted that she was involved with the sex cult, she claims that her involvement predated the ritual brandings and other humiliating practices to which the cult subjected women. “The accusations that I was in the ‘inner circle’ or recruited women as ‘sex slaves’ are blatantly false,” Kreuk said on Twitter.
In an interview Mack gave with Times reporter Vanessa Grigoriadis six months before her arrest, she claimed that she came up with practice of cauterizing the flesh of “sex slaves” in the NXIVM secret society, DOS.
What are Mack’s charges?
Sex trafficking and forced labor charges, which could lead to life in jail. In Brooklyn court on April 20, assistant U.S. 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.”
Furthermore, an actress named Samia Shoaib recently came forward with allegations that Mack attempted to lure her into JNess, a NXIVM-affilliated woman’s group, in 2013. Shoaib told the New York Post on Saturday that Mack would describe the JNESS meetings by saying, “It’s a bunch of women. We go on a retreat upstate, and we share our experiences and support each other.” Shoaib ultimately did not get involved.
What did Mack plead?
What other actors are allegedly involved?
Two actresses from TV show Battlestar Galactica: Grace Park and Nicki Clyne. According to online alt-weekly “Art Voice,” the latter and Mack got married because Clyne, who is Canadian, was having issues with her U.S. visa.
While she was unsuccessful in her attempts, Mack also tried to recruit Emma Watson. In one of the multiple tweets Mack sent to Watson in early 2016, she wrote, “I participate in a unique human development and women’s movement I’d love to tell you about. As a fellow actress I can relate so 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.”
So what’s next for Mack?
On April 24th, Mack was released to her parents on $5 million bond, ABC News reports. She is reportedly staying at her parents’s house in California, which she is prohibited from leaving except for court-related reasons. She is also reportedly prohibited from using a cell phone or the internet.