Holy Hell’s Michel and Raniere compared

More than one reader has remarked that Keith Alan “Vanguard” Raniere, leader of Executive Success Programs [AKA NXIVM] of Albany, is the heterosexual version of Michel Andreas “The Teacher” Rostand the leader of Buddhafield [AKA Buddha Tribe] of Hawaii.

Mr. Rostand and his group were featured in the 2016 documentary “Holy Hell” by filmmaker and former cult member Will Allen.

Perhaps Mark Vicente – Keith’s former videographer , who is rumored to have left NXIVM, might get some ideas from “Holy Hell.”

Mr. Allen’s film premiered on January 25, 2016 at the Sundance Film Festival, saw limited theatrical release in May 2016, and was broadcast by CNN on September 1, 2016.

Will Allen was 22 when he joined Buddhafield and became Michel’s documentarian and student. He left the group in 2007, after 22 years with about 35 hours of footage of Buddhafield.

Some similarities are noteworthy: While Mr. Raniere spends most of his time in a tee shirt and jogging pants, Michel donned Speedos and Ray-Bans.

Michel would perform a euphoric physical act on his students that he referred to as Shakti.

Members said it would shake them like an intense LSD trip.

Mr. Raniere performs a euphoric physical act on his female devotees which he refers to as private mentoring. Female members fight with each other for his private mentoring.

In 2007, members of the Michel’s group learned that he was formerly a gay porn star and as a hypnotherapist, had forced younger male members – including heterosexual ones – to have sex with him for years on end. He insisted female members have abortions. He had members spend thousands of dollars on plastic surgery on themselves.

In 2009, members of Mr. Raniere’s group learned that he was having sex with dozens of his female followers. He was formerly the owner of a business called Consumers’ Buyline that, contrary to his bio, actually went out of business after having swindled thousands of customers out of their membership fees. In 2017, they found out that Mr. Raniere was secretly branding female members on their pubic region with his initials to mark them as his slaves, and holding blackmail material against them to ensure they would remain quiet about the practice.


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The major difference between Michel and Mr. Raniere is that Michel sported a tight six-pack.  Mr. Raniere is more like a 12-pack – and heading to an 18-pack.  Makes one wonder what his 100-yard dash speed is these days (Assuming he can even run that far, it’s probably in the 20-second range). 

About the author

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.” 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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Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083
Email: frankparlato@gmail.com