With the arrest of high-ranking members of the NXIVM group, including actress Allison Mack, a spotlight is being turned on the group’s leader, Keith Raniere. Is he the guru of a group looking to empower people from all walks of life? Is he the leader of a sex cult? Is he a con man who fell for his own lines? In this Keith Raniere wiki, we will endeavor to discover who exactly the purported cult leader is.
Keith Raniere Wiki: The Beginnings of an Alleged Cult Leader
When it comes to Keith Raniere’s life, it is hard to discern fact from fiction. Between hundreds of news stories, and the ones that Raniere and his various organizations have spread, even some basic facts of his life are a matter of conjecture.
Keith Raniere was born on August 26, 1960. His father was an ad executive in New York City, while his mother taught ballroom dancing. As to what came after that, it really depends on what you want to believe.
According to Raniere, he began speaking in full sentences at the age of one. When he was 12 years old, it supposedly took Raniere 19 hours to teach himself high-school-level math. A year later, he claims to have had three years of college math knowledge under his belt, and also taught himself a number of computer languages.
By the age of 16, Raniere claims to have graduated high school and left for the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. From there, he eventually graduated with three degrees: mathematics, biology, and physics. His official bio also claims that he had minors in philosophy and psychology.
However, according to the records of Rockland Country Day School, his high school, Raniere did not graduate until 1978, just a few months short of his 18th birthday. It appears as though he does have three degrees from Rensselaer.
Top of the Pyramid
After graduating from Rensselaer in 1982, Raniere didn’t go into the fields he had studied. Instead, he went to work as a salesperson with Amway, a well-known health and beauty product company, from 1982 to 1984.
In 1988, Raniere became a programmer for the State Parole Board. He did this for a year before opening up his own company, Consumer’s Buyline. On paper, Consumer’s Buyline was a multilevel marketing business that promised commissions and discounts to old customers, who would then recruit new customers. By 1993, Raniere claims he’d sold $1.0 billion worth of goods and services.
In 1994, according to the State of New York when they took Raniere to court, he was the head of a rather large pyramid scheme.
Raniere settled the civil suit out of court for $40,000. Reportedly, Raniere has only ever paid $9,000 of the settlement.
He then moved on to the National Health Network, another multilevel sales program offering vitamins.
Along those lines, Raniere opened up a health goods store with girlfriend Toni Natilie. However, it was his next step that led him to where he is today.
The Beginnings of NXIVM
In 1997, Keith Raniere met Nancy Salzman, a nurse and therapist who became his business partner and eventual right hand. Salzman allegedly loaned Natilie $40,000 for the health goods business that soon collapsed.
In 1998, Raniere and Salzman created Executive Success Programs (ESP), the foundation of NXIVM.
As for Natilie, she was later part of a horrific legal battle with Raniere and Salzman. The legal battle left Natilie stressed, broken, and broke.
— NXIVM Corporation (@nxivm_official) July 6, 2016
At the heart of Executive Success Programs were its courses.
Executive Success Programs is a set of seminars and classes for business executives and those seeking continued success in their careers and lives. These courses cost a large amount of money, as it is suggested that they be taken multiple times. According to ex-members, there is also an emphasis on recruitment.
ESP eventually became NXIVM.
Pronounced “nexium,” the group is very secretive about their courses. Taking the courses requires the signing of fairly rigid nondisclosure agreements.
However, the secrecy and cost didn’t deter many wealthy celebrities and executives.
Chief among these were Clare and Sara Bronfman, the daughters of billionaire Edgar Bronfman Sr.
The Bronfman sisters are alleged to have donated to and financed NXIVM to the tune of $150.0 million to $200.0 million. The funds were allegedly used for everything from buying NXIVM property in Los Angeles to covering Raniere’s shortfall in the commodities market.
Beyond the Bronfmans, there were a number of other celebrities involved in NXIVM, most notably former U.S. Surgeon General Antonia Novello, BET co-founder Sheila Johnson, venture capitalist and son of a former Mexican president Emiliano Salinas, and American actress Allison Mack.
Allison Mack, Keith Raniere, and the Cult of DOS
According to many insiders, there was a darker sect of NXIVM called DOS.
According to Frank Parlato, one of NXIVM’s former publicists, DOS stands for “dominant over submissive.” The known details about the group are frightening.
Allison Mack is probably best known for playing Chloe Sullivan in the television series Smallville. She was reportedly recruited by the Vancouver chapter of NXIVM and took up with its messages right away.
On a YouTube channel called Keith Raniere Observations, you can watch Mack interview Raniere on subjects that make up some of NXIVM’s core principles.
According to former members, as well as allegations made by federal inveatigators against Raniere and Mack, members of the sect were branded and forced to engage in the group’s practices, often against their will. The women in the sect had “masters” who they would report to and were obligated to recruit other women.
Allegedly, these women were forced to give their masters nude pictures and other material that could be used as blackmail. This material would be used if the women ever left the sect or, as many allege, as a device to force them to have sex with Raniere.
The Charges against Raniere
After he was arrested by the FBI in Mexico towards the end of March 2018, the actual accusations against Raniere were made public…and they are nothing short of horrific.
Twenty-two pages of federal paperwork outline Raniere’s alleged role in sex trafficking, DOS, and NXIVM. There are allegations of Raniere forcing a follower to drink from a puddle, raping girls as young as 12, and imprisoning a woman for 18 months because she had developed feelings for someone else.
[email protected] I’m a fellow actress like yourself & involved in an amazing women’s movement I think you’d dig. I’d love to chat if you’re open.
— Allison Mack (@allisonmack) January 24, 2016
Allison Mack has also been charged for her alleged role in sex trafficking for the group. Mack’s role seemed to mainly involve recruitment. It has been alleged that she even attempted to recruit actor Emma Watson and singer Kelly Clarkson.
Currently, Keith Raniere is being held in custody in New York. Federal officials allege that while there is no bank account in his name, Raniere and a partner have a stash of millions in a bank account under a dead lover’s identity, making Raniere a flight risk.
Allison Mack has been released on $5.0 million bond. She is currently under house arrest with her parents in California.