June 1, 2018 3:23 pm
Updated: May 8, 2019 8:46 am

Allison Mack admits it was her idea to ‘brand’ Nxivm group members

Allison Mack arrives at the United States Eastern District Court for a bail hearing on May 4, 2018 in Brooklyn, NY.

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Allison Mack, the former Smallville actor arrested for her involvement in the alleged sex cult Nxivm (pronounced “Nexium”) revealed many disturbing details about her experiences in an interview with New York Times magazine.

The interview clearly took place before Mack’s and Nxivm leader Keith Raniere‘s arrests, which took place within weeks of each other in March and April of this year. Mack and Raniere face three charges: sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and forced labour conspiracy. Both have pleaded not guilty.

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Raniere is being held without bail, while Mack is currently out on a $5-million bond and is under house arrest.

Prior to her arrest, Mack, 35, was last seen chasing after the police vehicle containing Raniere, 57, who was arrested in Mexico and extradited to the U.S. to face trial. Mack is widely known as one of Raniere’s top confidantes. Authorities have long alleged Raniere led the secretive clan of female followers and brainwashed them into being “sex slaves.” Many women were “branded” with his and Mack’s initials in their pelvic regions, and authorities allege they were coerced into having sex with him.

According to the filed complaint, Raniere (who was known in the group as “The Vanguard”) oversaw the functioning of Nxivm, which operated under an archaic system: women were told the best way to advance was to become a “slave” watched over by “masters.”

They were expected to have sex with their “master” and do any and all menial chores they were ordered to. They weren’t to tell anybody about the arrangement, and they risked public humiliation if they ever revealed details to any party.

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Mack reiterates all of this and more in her New York Times magazine interview, but arguably the most shocking part is when she admits she’s responsible for the branding of women. She said that she takes full responsibility for coming up with the brand’s design.

“I was like: ‘Y’all, a tattoo?'” she said to interviewer Vanessa Grigoriadis. “‘People get drunk and tattooed on their ankle ‘BFF,’ or a tramp stamp. I have two tattoos and they mean nothing.'”

Grigoriadis then writes that Mack took pride in doing something “more meaningful, something that took guts.”

Mack also said that women were inclined to shout “Badass warrior bitches! Let’s get strong together!” to push through the pain of being burned with the cauterizing pen.

“During the videotaped branding ceremonies, slaves were required to be fully naked, and the master would order one slave to film while the other held down the slave being branded,” reads the official criminal complaint.

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Mack acknowledged reaching out to Hollywood actors like Emma Watson in order to grow Nxivm, specifically to the female-only group within the organization, Dominus Obsequious Sororium (broken Latin for “lord over the obedient female companions”), or DOS. The male equivalent was called the Society of Protectors, and the men within that group would work to support each other in their everyday lives.

In DOS, the woman who invited you to the group was your master, Mack said. The majority of women in DOS didn’t have sex with Raniere; the New York Times magazine article claims only two women admitted to it.

“[She would be the] representation of your conscience, your higher self, your most ideal.”

An example of the relationship would be the master helping her slave count calories to “save them from the trap of emotional eating,” according to other women in DOS. Grigoriadis writes:

“Masters would dictate an act of ‘self-denial,’ like cold showers or rousing yourself from bed at 4 a.m. and standing stock still for a time. Slaves were told to do ‘acts of care’ for masters, perhaps bringing them coffee. Slaves might be told to abstain from orgasms, ostensibly to heal their negative sexual patterns. Mack said that this was ‘about devotion’ and ‘like any spiritual practice or religion.’ I thought about free will — did she believe in that? She said, ‘You’re dedicating your life one way or another.'”

Investigators said Raniere preferred exceptionally thin women, so “slaves” had to stick to very low-calorie diets and document every food they ate. As punishment for not following orders, women were forced to attend classes where they were “forced to wear fake cow udders over their breasts while people called them derogatory names,” or threatened with being put in cages, court papers say.

The idea within Nxivm is to continually perpetuate the cycle; each master is supposed to bring in slaves, and then to grow into a master themselves, they need to recruit their own slaves.

Each circle was “like a little family,” Mack said to Grigoriadis.

Earlier this year, Raniere posted an open letter to the Nxivm website (now deleted), ruing “the picture being painted in the media” about his group and denying any accusations levied against him.

“Over the past months, there have been extensive independent investigations performed, by highly qualified individuals, and they have firmly concluded that there is no merit to the allegations that we are abusing, coercing or harming individuals,” it read in part. “These allegations are most disturbing to me as non-violence is one of my most important values.”

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Raniere and Nxivm have been the subject of criticism for years, dating back to at least 2012 when the Times Union of Albany published a series of articles examining the organization and allegations that it was like a cult.

Other rumoured celebrity members include former Battlestar Galactica star Nicki Clyne and Canadian actor Kristen Kreuk. Clyne has not commented publicly on her involvement, while Kreuk acknowledged hers, saying she’s “disturbed and embarrassed to have been associated” with Nxivm.

Nxivm’s official site still exists, but solely consists of an “important message” to the group’s members. It reads:

“It is with deep sadness that we inform you we are suspending all NXIVM/ESP enrollment, curriculum and events until further notice.

“We will be in touch with more information for anyone currently enrolled in upcoming events/programs.

“While we are disappointed by the interruption of our operations, we believe it is warranted by the extraordinary circumstances facing the company at this time. We continue to believe in the value and importance of our work and look forward to resuming our efforts when these allegations are resolved.”

A trial date for the Mack and Raniere has been set for Oct. 1.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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