15 Jan The Lost Women of NXIVM
A Modern American Cult Exposed
NXIVM, pronounced “nexium”, is an American cult that was founded in 1998 that made headlines in the last months of 2018 when six of its members were charged with all sorts of bad stuff from financial sins like money laundering and wire fraud to more egregious crimes like forced labour and sex trafficking.
Victims of this cult started speaking out claiming that the cult routinely abused the women under its control ranging from rape and blackmail to starvation and torture. Members were attracted to the cult by the lofty promise of self-actualization made by a man by the name of Keith Raniere, AKA “Vanguard”, who also claimed that his programs could ‘improve’ physical and psychological ailments from fertility to autism.
Unfortunately, NXIVM is shrouded in mystery because its members must sign non-disclosure agreements before they are allowed to join. Only one article published in 2003 by Forbes reported some of the goings-on in NXIVM. It revealed a world structured like a pyramid scheme where daily life that started with weird handshakes and made-up words. This was also a very expensive world, with classes starting at $5,000 for a 5-day course and going up to $25,000 a day for more exclusive classes.
Members weren’t made up of below-average ‘losers’ as you might imagine, for some of the notable members include BET’s co-founder Sheila Johnson, former US-surgeon general Antonia Novello and the actress who played Chloe in Smallville, Alison Mack. Even the Dalai Lama got involved, writing the foreword to Keith Raniere’s book “The Sphinx & Thelxiepeia”.
The man that could reel in these sorts of names must really be a pretty smart fellow, and apparently he really is. In 1982 he graduated triple majoring in Physics, Maths and Biology and minoring in Psychology and Philosophy. He was even featured in the Guinness World Records for his IQ score, performing at the level of 1 in 10 million people. This guy is a real ‘evil genius’, and just like an evil genius, he let his brain go to his head.
He formed a secret society, DOS, within NXIVM that consisted of a ‘master’ – Richards, the only male member – and a hierarchy of female ‘slaves’ attracted to the idea of a fast-track to the top of NXIVM. It didn’t end well. A lot of abuse happened behind closed doors and it keeps getting worse as more information comes to light.
This documentary explores some of the terrible things that happened to four women trapped in the cult who by very curious circumstances either went missing or wound up dead. Expect to see disenchanting accounts of tainted police reports and contested evidence between the official accounts of suicide and illness. We’ll even get a few interviews of former NXIVM members speaking out for the first time so that we can dive even deeper into the underbelly of the hell created by Keith Raniere.
Sundays at 9 p.m. on ID (ch 223) from January 26th