Brendan’s Alternate Tagline: If I have to be branded to join a group, then I am not joining said group.
Quick synopsis: A woman discusses her involvement with NXIVM, a now notorious cult known for branding women and making them sex slaves. Yes, it happened in the United States.
Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like: Remember the show Smallville, where a young Superman has a best friend named Chloe played by actress Allison Mack? Yes, so she was second in command of this cult.
Fun Fact for History Nerds: Allison Mack came up with the idea of branding women. I won’t spoil what the brand actually is.
My Take: Everything is fun and games until a cattle prod comes out. Right, everyone?
Keith Raniere is apparently a very smart guy who loves committing a wide array of crimes. His most successful for a time was NXIVM. It began, like most cults do, as a self-improvement seminar targeted at people who needed “executive success.” No red flags yet, right? Unless you count that Raniere already got caught running a pyramid scheme. Oh, and that this also followed the tried and true methodology of a multi-level marketing scheme.
Raniere hit the jackpot when he was able to pull in some major donors early on. Among them, the Seagram’s heiresses (yes, THAT Seagrams), and a slew of actors and actresses. Allison Mack became the number two in the organization. It then started going from another humdrum white-collar crime to SFU (short for seriously f—– up and yes, I just made that up, why you do ask?). I’ll say no more to avoid other spoilers.
As you’ll see in my verdict, the one downside is that the podcast is two years old and a lot has happened which you’ll have to look up or watch a newer documentary on it. Besides that though, it’s a great listen.
Verdict: The only thing wrong with this podcast is a lot happened in the 2 years since it aired. Read up on it after you listen.
If You Liked This Try:
- A Killing on the Cape
- The Gateway