On May 28, the first episode of A&E's Cults And Extreme Belief will air, kicking off a docuseries that takes a look at several disturbing and infamous fringe groups through the eyes of former members who are willing to speak about they ended up in these organizations. The premiere of Cults And Extreme Belief focuses on Nxivm, which has come do national attention recently due to the involvement of former Smallville star Allison Mack. Subsequently, Allison Mack's relationship to Nxivm founder Keith Raniere has been the subject of some intense conversation.
Nxivm's official website describes the group as a "community" whose mission is to "raise human awareness, foster an ethical humanitarian civilization, and celebrate what it means to be human" via seminar sessions. Former Nxivm member Susan Dones told The Hollywood Reporter that Mack attended one of these seminars in 2006, specifically for Jness, a women’s movement inside of Nxivm. She recalled meeting Mack and claimed the star was flown via private jet to meet Raniere at the company headquarters after the seminar.
Dones also told THR that she visited the headquarters weeks later to find the Smallville star still at the location. She believed Raniere gave Mack special treatment (she called it "love-bombing") because of her celebrity status and ability to draw in new recruits. Another former member of the group who requested to remain anonymous due to safety concerns told the outlet that she believed Mack and Raniere began having a sexual relationship.
Per the New York Daily News, Mack was arrested because she allegedly recruited women into Nxivm to take costly courses touting “women’s empowerment” and then helped to coerce those women into a secret sorority within the organization known as DOS, where they became sex slaves for Raniere. The report states that Mack ranked "just below" Raniere and received financial compensation for bringing the women to the organization leader. Now, according to a CBS report, Mack and Raniere have been indicted on charges of sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, and forced labor conspiracy. The trial is expected to start on Oct. 1, and they will both face a minimum of 15 years in prison if found guilty. Both Mack and Raniere have entered not guilty pleas.
The same CBS report states that Mack’s representatives have not released a comment, but Nxivm posted a statement about the accusations on its website. It reads:
"In response to the allegations against our founder, Keith Raniere, we are currently working with the authorities to demonstrate his innocence and true character. We strongly believe the justice system will prevail in bringing the truth to light. We are saddened by the reports perpetuated by the media and their apparent disregard for “innocent until proven guilty,” yet we will continue to honor the same principles on which our company was founded. It is during the times of greatest adversity that integrity, humanity and compassion are hardest, and needed most."
Mack spoke about her relationship with Raniere in a FINE magazine interview from March of 2017, crediting him for guiding her life after Smallville ended in 2011. “I have a wonderful teacher and mentor named Keith Raniere, who gave me some incredible advice. I think everyone needs a mentor. I don’t think any of us really know the answers without a little bit of wisdom," Mack said. "... I was talking to him about my struggle, confusion, and know knowing what to do. He said, 'Why don’t you take some time and think about it? Give yourself some space to figure out who you are now.'"
In 2017, Mack and Raniere recorded a YouTube video series for the account, Keith Raniere Conversations. Raniere gives his thoughts about the entertainment industry’s future and morality, while Mack asks him to elaborate on certain points and talks about her own insecurities as an actor. She also says that she trusts his words, listening intently as they carry on a conversation about their beliefs.
There are claims, however, that Raniere's reported guidance of Mack's personal and professional decisions may have led to marry another famous Nxivm member. The organization's former publicist Frank Parlato claimed to People that Mack married Battlestar Galactica star Nicki Clyne under Raniere's orders; prosecutors also made this claim in court. Clyne and Mack were married in February 2017, per Parlato, and he said he believes that Clyne left her own series in 2008 to follow Raniere. Neither Clyne nor Mack have made an official statement about this claim, but they have posted photos of themselves together on their respective Instagram pages..
The Cults And Extreme Belief episode about the group will touch on Raniere and Mack and their respective roles in the organization. And as the court case against the two plays out, more details will surely come to light.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.