2007: WARNING: “A Cappella Innovations” = Cult Scam???

Back in Nov. 2007, Keith Raniere ordered Clare Bronfman to fund an a cappella concert and invite the best college a cappella groups so he could show off his own a cappella group Simply Human, have the college kids see they were superior, and that their inspiration – Raniere himself- was superior. Then the students would rush to follow the Vanguard.

Clare even arranged for her brother Edgar Bronfman Jr, then head of Warner Music to attend and judge some of the groups. This was thought to be an instant attraction for members of these college groups wanted to be discovered.

Raniere also ordered his disciples, TV actresses Nicki Clyne, Kristin Kruek and Allison Mack to Emcee the show – though they did not sing.

It was meant to make a stir on the college campuses … and it did — but not in the way Raniere intended. The show was very  poorly attended and Clare probably lost $100,000 putting the Raniere vanity show on…..

This is the post on an a cappella blog site that unhinged the whole plan.

It was posted by an anonymous poster http://forums.casa.org/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=3966&hilit=nxivm 

Postby woodstein2007 » Mon Nov 12, 2007 4:00 pm

Let me start off by saying that I SERIOUSLY doubt that any of the a cappella people involved in the upcoming “A Cappella Innovations” conference in Albany <www.acappellainnovations.com> are aware of what I’m about to discuss. I’m sure they were just attracted to the idea of attending an interesting sounding conference with some impressive celebrity judges.

I was considering convincing my college group to go, too. I was especially impressed that Edgar Bronfman, Jr. (CEO of Warner Music Group) and Kristin Kreuk (actress from Smallville) would supposedly be attending. I was curious about the conference though, since it seemed to spring up out of nowhere.

I looked on the “contacts” page to see who was in charge. I noticed that one of the names, Clare Bronfman, had the same last name as the Warner guy. “Oh,” I thought, “he must be doing a favor for his relative.” Curious about the relative, I Googled her. That’s when it started to get weird.

Here’s a link to a repost of an article from the Albany Times-Union:

Apparently Clare Bronfman is heavily involved with “Nxivm” <www.nxivm.com>, a cult. Her father (a multi-millionaire), has denounced it as such in print, and isn’t speaking to her or her sister. Edgar is her half-brother. I couldn’t find much info on the other organizer, Siobahn Hotaling, but a Google search of her name did turn up a “siobahn@nxivm.com” e-mail address.

The more I read about “Nxivm” (pronounced like Nexium, the little purple pill), the scarier it got. Here’s an article from the New York Post:


And here’s an article from New York Magazine:


They deny they’re a cult, but: They’re run by a messianic figure named “Vanguard” who got caught running a pyramid scheme and claims to have the highest IQ in the world, and people who have gone through their (expensive) seminars have allegedly ended up killing themselves and/or going insane, thanks to the “break them down and build them back up” tactics and hypnotism…

Why is Kristin Kreuk involved in this? Check out this series of articles at Cult News:


Apparently she’s in the cult, too.

Could the fact that so many people involved are all part of the same scary cult be a coincidence? Am I just a paranoid journalism student with too much time on his hands? I’ll leave that up to you.

By the way, the headquarters of Nxivm is in Albany, NY. And the website for the conference was apparently registered just three weeks ago.


Not sure why that last bit is significant, it just seemed a little odd to me — such a big conference, organized so quickly.

Sorry for the anonymous nature of this post — supposedly Nxivm targets its enemies with legal harrassment and private detectives, and I’d rather avoid that.

Kristin Kruek, Niki Clyne and Allison Mack appeared barely rehearsed and they improvised some rather unfunny lines in between a cappella group’s performances. The show was very  poorly attended and Clare probably lost $100,000 putting the Raniere vanity show on…..

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Frank Parlato

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  • 100K is chump change compared to the $150+ million the ridiculously naive duo has already given up to the massive charlatan. Just sayin’.

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.” Parlato was also 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 premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

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