The first thing someone thinks of when they hear “multi-level marketing” is usually “pyramid scheme”.

You pay thousands to join, and make money from recruiting people who pay thousands to join. It’s a scam, and the majority of participants end up losing money while the people at the top get rich. NXVIM certainly pulled that off, but it went a lot further than that.

Keith Raniere, a man with a decades-long history of abusing girls as young as twelve, also managed to launch several businesses in his time spent not preying on children, including NXVIM and Jness, a group marketed as a women’s mentoring group led by women. Raniere recruited a woman referred to as “Criminal Conspirator One” or CC1 in subsequent legal documents which show an email from her entitled “vow 3” in which she pledged her “full and complete life” to him.

As collateral to ensure her loyalty, she submitted three items of information in the email.

1: A letter that would irreversibly “damage her parent’s character.”

2: A signed agreement transferring custody of any children she and Raniere might have together as part of their arrangement should she break her commitment to him.

3: A signed agreement transferring ownership of her home in the same scenario.

This is a common practice among this type of organization, with Scientology auditing sessions coming to mind immediately. CC1 refers to herself as “slave” and Raniere as “master” in the email, despite Raniere’s attorney insisting that the label of “sex cult” is a government effort to make the group sound nefarious.

Once CC1 had given Raniere enough dirt to bury her, she was in as his second in command, and her first duty was to recruit more members, which CC1 did with gusto.

The woman referred to as CC1 is Allison Mack.

From there Mack recruited a number of other women through videos posted on social media as well as in-person meetings. Actress and granddaughter of Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia became CC2 and Mack’s slave under the cult doctrine, and her grandmother flying to New York to try and extricate her from the cult was unsuccessful.
Either she was fully committed to her role, or her collateral is too damning to break away from Raniere now that he’s been arrested.

“Co-Conspirator 2 (‘CC-2’) had been involved in Nxivm for several years before being introduced to DOS [Raniere and Mack’s secret sex-slaver group within NXIVM].  … Based on information obtained over the course of the investigation, CC-2 is CC-1 ‘s direct slave.”

Rolling Stone reports that DOS allegedly stands for “Domunus Obsequious Sororium,” which loosely translates to “Lord/Master of the Obedient Female Companions.” Members are inducted and branded on the pelvis with Mack and Raniere’s initials. The cult members were imprisoned for years, raped, and forced to do menial labour as Mack allegedly amassed more slaves in exchange for money as well as dominance, something very much at odds with her chirpy demeanor in her recruitment videos.

 

The Crusty Crackpot Podcast is an investigative journalism/comedy podcast with a habit of taking on topics far too serious for comedy – we sent our foreign correspondent Conor Maloney from Ireland to New York to get the opinions of some locals, and recorded an hour-long special episode which you can listen to here if you’d like to learn more about the ongoing court proceedings, the alleged plan the cult has to free their leader, the complaints made against Raniere by ex-cult members, and of course Raniere himself.

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