The Alt: Inside NXIVM – gives due credit to investigative journalist Chet Hardin

Keith Alan Raniere AKA The Vanguard.

     Investigative journalist Chet Hardin was one of the pioneer journalists who helped uncover the deeply disturbing secrets of NXIVM and laid it out on the public record. I was NXIVM’s publicists when Hardin was working the beat at Metroland, Albany’s alternative weekly – now defunct. I considered Hardin a true professional and an honest actor in the business. I attempted to give him what I thought was the truth at the time. I later found out Hardin was closing in on a truth I was unaware of at the time.The Alt published this excellently written insightful piece on Keith Raniere, his cult NXIVM and Hardin’s work.


Here is an excerpt:

For Chet Hardin, a former resident of Troy and news editor for Metroland, the area’s now-defunct news weekly, the story has become very personal. He’s seen people’s lives destroyed by what he calls the group’s “brainwashing,” their “abusive litigation” and their dedication to silencing and defeating critics absolutely.

While other local news outlets were covering Raniere’s business savvy and his training programs, Hardin was approached by concerned individuals about what they saw as a very disturbing trend: The success training group was being run as a cult, they said, people were asked to give over their possessions to Raniere, and radical brainwashing and therapy techniques were used that would leave participants convinced they were somehow personally responsible for atrocities they had nothing to do with. One woman was convinced she was responsible for the Challenger disaster, another the Holocaust.

A source provided Hardin with a report by New York-based espionage group Interform that detailed the bank deposits and financial history of cult deprogrammer Rick Ross. The source said it had been commissioned by NXIVM. Hardin called Ross and read him the list of transactions.

“He verified it was his account and that the report contained information about his own finances he wasn’t even aware of,” Hardin said. “He said, ‘They better get a good lawyer!’”

Around this time  Hardin was introduced to former NXIVM member Toni Natalie.

Natalie was converted personally by Raniere after meeting him through his company Consumer Byline. After eight years of what she claims was full of mental abuse, she negotiated her release from NXIVM. But, in many ways, it was just the beginning of her relationship with the group.


“The story Natalie told me was just absolutely insane but she seemed so sincere. There was something about her that just seemed so true,” says Hardin. So he kept digging.

About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • The sheep will keep on following until they are willing to step outside the box built for them by Raniere and his masterful wolf pack.
    The problem with their box is it continues to be fortified by constantly being mind-bent by their coaches / mentors that have been hand picked based on their responses from day one in trainings, opinion questions asked before enrollment, EM’s, more trainings and coaching sessions.
    The mind bending is a pyramid within itself come from the front lines coaching to the next level down.

  • So many heroes helped keep a spotlight on Raniere! And often at great personal cost.

  • The Source, The Knife and Rainbow Cultural Garden still going full steam.

    Brock Wilbur was working on a documentary for nine months about Keith Raniere and The Knife, which seems to be cancelled since his arrest.

    They just block any critics on Twitter.

    Who knows if ESP Mexico continues.

    • Right now they’re desperate and panicked, maintaining a thin sheen of normalcy wherever they can to convince others and especially themselves that everything will be honky dory.

      Understand that to not believe in a honky dory outcome is suppressive, or ethically breachy, or whatever word salad they’re required to embrace.

      Two casual observations. There was an increase in knife media postings after Keith’s arrest. As if to show us all how vital and alive the cult empire remains. And Sara Bronfman’s manic twitter pace continues unabated. Oof, as she would say.

  • Keith with his diminutive figure and pudgy body might be able to move very fast if chased by angry fathers or upset former students. Several times he ran pretty fast when he saw any threats close to his home. I would be surprised if he could beat any records though. I’m sure he’ll be running for his life in jail.

  • It’s a scam! They changed the records to steal his accomplishment.
    Everyone is a liar except Keith Raniere.
    Oh, and Kristin Kreuk. If you believe her followers.

  • What’s a little lie when you’ve had people killed?!

    Besides, if you don’t believe Keith, it means you’re a suppressive.

  • It’s all lies. Typical NXIVM bullish!t. Just make up claims that no one can verify.

    Has anyone been able to verify the Judo champion claim? Was VanGrifter a X-Wing Pilot also? Complete the Kessler run in 1 parsec? Stronger than Jabba the Hut?

    Here’s the NXIVM recipe for success: 1) Create innocuous sounding organizations that commit fraud, 2) Give yourself awards that no one can verify, 3) Brainwash your followers and steal their money, 4) Rinse, repeat.

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.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083