It’s funny that lately I’ve been proven somewhat wrong in my observation that the majority of cults involve skeezy older men who want to fuck much younger women. We’ve recently covered a few that didn’t really fit that pattern at all (here and here). Then I caught a Dateline about The Family, and was like, hmmm, not the case there either. Sometimes they do primarily involve greed rather than lust apparently. So it was weirdly reassuring to read about Keith Raniere’s shitty marketing cult. Sex slaves branded with the dude’s freaking initials? Creepy as all get out but also, normalcy restored in my mind in a way. (from the Daily Beast):
“A “self-help” guru was charged this week with sex-trafficking his female members, keeping them as “slaves,” and branding them with his initials.
Federal authorities arrested Keith Raniere, the founder of NXIVM, a secret multi-level marketing cult, on Monday for allegedly forcing members to engage in sex acts.
Raniere, 57, who is known as “The Vanguard,” previously fled to Mexico last year ahead of a federal probe and New York Times investigation exposing the cult leader’s alleged sex-trafficking ring. He was arrested below the border and is now in custody in Fort Worth, Texas.
According to court records, Raniere had sexual relationships with a rotating group of nearly 20 women, in which they were allowed to only have sex with him. NXIVM’s curriculum, according to court documents, revealed men were allowed to see multiple women, but women were to remain strictly monogamous.
More than 20 years ago, Raniere, an alumnus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute founded Executive Success Programs (ESP), a series of workshops to “actualize human potential.” In 2003, Raniere launched NXIVM, a group claiming to offer members a “new ethical understanding” allowing “humanity to rise to its nobility possibility.”
That year, a parent, who formerly backed Raniere’s program, told Forbes that he worried about his daughters whom he hadn’t spoken with in months. “I think it’s a cult,” that parent, Edgar Bronfman, declared. In 2009, Raniere filed a defamation claim against the parents, citing that article.
Ex-NXIVM members know all too well the cult leader’s allegedly manipulative tactics. Raniere’s classes can cost up to $5,000 for a five-day workshop, according to court documents, and because members often find themselves in debt for the courses they take, they are obliged to work for the company to pay it off.”