Unpublished transcript: Becca Friedman on Raniere -‘they had me hooked, but not enough’ 

Ask Becca what actually went on behind the scenes in Clifton Park.


Becca Friedman left NXIVM after spending more than two years there.

She gave a taped interview in Sept. 2010 to the Times Union which, to my knowledge, has never been transcribed and is therefore not searchable on the internet.

This is the transcript:

I view NXIVM now as an onion. The outer layers are really very harmless and beneficial.

As a student that’s what you experience are those layers. Because I enrolled three people overall so I was given the Yellow Sash and as we soon as that happened things started to shift.

We were all there because in some way we didn’t feel happy or fulfilled. Basically I was worried I was losing my kids.

He [Edward Kinum, Esther Chiappone’s boyfriend, in an effort to persuade her to leave her children] said, “Well are you happy with your kids?”

I said, “Well Yeah but I feel more happy up here [In Albany]’”

And so it became this [Kinum said] “Well here you are with your kids down in Woodstock and here you are up in Albany on your own and wouldn’t it be doing a disservice to stay in Woodstock with your family and not feel happy? Wouldn’t that be doing a disservice to yourself and your family and all of humanity when you could be up here feeling happy?”

I just remember feeling very Claus trophic all of a sudden, something that had never occurred in an EM or in the cafe area.

He kept saying it, and he kept saying it, because I kept choosing the family one [living in Woodstock with her children].

Finally, I chose [told Raniere] the living alone so that it could be over.

Yeah I think it is a cult.  I think that any organization that teaches you do not need to rely on anyone or anything but yourself and the only way you can learn to do that is with that organization is a cult.

I definitely acknowledge that there are good parts. With any efficient cult you have to have a good hook and you have to keep them hooked on the good stuff for a really long time before you can start to do the real brainwashing and they had me hooked, but not enough.

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Frank Parlato

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About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” He also appeared in "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM, and was credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premieres on May 22, 2022.

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