The story of Allison Mack's involvement with the NXIVM cult only gets more and more bizarre. In April, the former Smallville actress was arrested in a case against the organization involving sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, and forced labor conspiracy. Now, more information about NXIVM (pronounced "nexium") has come out via Vanessa Grigoriadis' New York Times piece "The 'Sex Cult' That Preached Empowerment." The piece reveals just how tied Mack was to leader Keith Raniere, also arrested for NXIVM's crimes. (Both Mack and Raniere have pled not guilty.)
According to Grigoriadis' article, Mack was Raniere's "personal slave," though the piece notes that she may have also victimized other women. (Her initials, "AM," were allegedly branded onto the skin of multiple women within the organization.) According to The New York Times, Mack had a literal contract with Raniere that included disturbing consequences if she did not please him.
"The collateral [Mack] gave [Raniere] as her 'master' was chilling: a contract declaring that if she broke her commitment, her home would be transferred into his name and future children birthed by her would be his, as well as a letter addressed to social services claiming abuse of her nephews."
The New York Times piece also states that Mack sent naked photographs of other women within NXIVM to Raniere as a gift from slave to master.
Since Mack's arrest, the cult has become a bit of a pop culture fascination. On May 29, A&E series Cults and Extreme Belief aired an episode focused on the cult. A fictionalized version of the story is also potentially coming to television, with Annapurna Television acquiring the rights to Barry Meier's 2017 New York Times exposé "Inside a Secretive Group Where Women Are Branded."
Honestly, it's hard to imagine any work of fiction crazier or more unsettling than these alleged facts.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).