Fact Or Fiction: What We Know About The NXIVM Cult

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The chilling saga surrounding the NXIVM cult has been unfolding right before our eyes and Smallville actress Allison Mack is one of the people at its center. NXIVM, an Albany-based organization run by Keith Raniere and Nancy Salzman which hosted "Executive Success Programs" that members are now saying were a front for a closer-knit organization that involved branding, meal restriction, sex, and blackmail. Last month, Raniere was charged with sex trafficking in relation to NXIVM (pronounced “nexium”), and now it's Mack's turn to stand trial.
Mack, 35, who joined NXIVM in 2006, has been charged with sex trafficking and forced labor. Specifically, she's been accused of recruiting women for Raniere's inner-circle, called "DOS", according to The New York Times, women in DOS were branded against their will and forced to fast for twelve hours a day, take cold showers, and perform a "daily act to honor" their master. They were also pressured to regularly send "collateral" such as nude photos, financial information, or confessions to crimes that were used as blackmail for their loyalty. Mack has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and was released on $5 million bond; she’s now staying at her parents’ house in California. She can only leave for court-related reasons, and cannot use her cell phone or the internet.
A number of women have come forward about their experiences in the organization, and according to The New York Times, asked the authorities to investigate the group; police initially declined to pursue action because they believed the activities to be consensual.
Now, however, with more details emerging, the organization is in hot water, with countless questions emerging daily. Ahead, a breakdown of exactly what NXIVM is and just how far it spread.
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