NY Times story seems to do Raniere’s bidding, placing blame for branding on Allison Mack

by Frank Parlato

New York Times Magazine contributor, Vanessa Grigoriadis did her best to show NXIVM and its leaders in a splendid light.  And, while she was at it, to fulfill Keith Raniere’s and Clare Bronfman’s wishes to place criminal blame on Allison Mack.

In an article that appeared online yesterday, readers learned that Vanessa interviewed Clare Bronfman, Sara Bronfman, Nancy Salzman, Lauren Salzman, India Oxenberg, and Keith Raniere – prior to his going to jail.  For the opposition, she interviewed Barbara Bouchey.

This was the first time in 14 years Raniere gave an interview to a reporter. In fairness to Vanessa’s pro-NXIVM slant, she might have had to agree to a number of preconditions to persuade the secretive NXIVM leaders to talk on the record.  It was a stunningly positive piece for the group.  Of course, Vanessa threw in some allegations against Raniere.  But, overall, she did a great PR job for NXIVM.

Let’s examine how she loaded her story with pro NXIVM opinions and conclusions.  The following are a sampling; read the article for many more:

Keith Raniere has an ally in Vanessa Grigoriadis.

Vanessa describes her interviewees:

Sara Bronfman: “a lovely woman who made me eggs in her Albany-area mansion.”

Nancy Salzman’: “an extremely fit woman” who provided “a lovely buffet of croissants and fruit on her kitchen island.”

Keith Raniere “built like a wrestler” who “seemed intelligent and intensely sad”.

Allison Mack “a bright smile” and a “gorgeous apartment in Brooklyn.”

Clare Bronfman  “wry and slight, polite.” with a “voice … so soft that it drifted away. She answered my questions directly and seemed highly in touch with her emotions.”

Lauren Salzman: “a clever 40-year-old and perhaps the group’s most persuasive junior leader.”

Vanessa also spoke to “many members and ex-members” who she found “funny and strikingly perceptive”. [Strikingly?]

Oh, she’s clever alright.  Lauren Salzman had as much or more to do with DOS as Allison. But she cleverly is shifting all the blame to Allison.

Vanessa on NXIVM Members

“Members believed that Raniere could heal them of emotional traumas, set them free from their fears and attachments, clear patterns of destructive thinking.”

“The unexamined among us allow these ancient self-perceptions to run the show in current time, but not Nxians.”
Many members and ex-members of Nxivm that I spoke with …. agreed on one thing: The ‘technology’ worked.”


Keith Raniere does more than think. He tells us he is a stunning athlete – with the build of a wrestler – Vanessa says. Raniere claims he was once East Coast Judo Champion – when he was 11 or 12 – and when he was a teen tied the record for New York State’s fastest 100 yard dash.  There is unfortunately no record of these accomplishments – but we have Raniere’s word for it and if that’;s good enough for Vanessa, it should be good enough for you too.

Vanessa on Raniere, the thinker

“Raniere presented himself as a great philosopher, an ethical man and a scientist pushing the bounds of human capability.”

“He also seemed to have a unique, pulsating idea that resonated with women”. [Pulsating?]

Raniere “had solved the equation of how to be a joyful human.”

Raniere: “believed his organization could heal individuals and transform the world.” [She knows what Raniere believes, of course.}

“What he does every day is simply walk and think… [this is his work — his thinking] 

“He walked 14 to 20 miles a day…  during those walks, he thought about how to solve humanity’s problems.”

“Raniere began thinking more deeply about persuasion and how you could talk people into anything, even helping themselves.”


Raniere said, “I’m like a nerd who has read too much, only I’ve thought too much.”

Vanessa on NXIVM

“Nxivm positioned itself as the true self-improvement gospel.”

“[I]ts core tenet was wildly optimistic.” [wildly?]

“The ultimate Nxivm member was ‘potent,’ in Nxian lingo — not only rich but emotionally disciplined, self-controlled, attractive, physically fit and slender — or, in the word most members themselves preferred, ‘badass.’”  [Badass? I thought she was going to say brainwashed].

“Since the group’s founding in 1998, it has been a tightly knit organization, ‘like a family,’ as Raniere has described it.”

“Nxivm taught the power of penance as a time-tested shortcut to achieving self-improvement.”
“Mobius [is] about healing the parts of yourself that you reject and not hating them in other people”.
“Human Pain [is] about understanding that love and pain often go together.”
“Experiencing integration after integration, the Nxian feels light, buoyant and more powerful than before.” [Light – yes, at 500 calories, but buoyant?]
Nxivm has “techniques, or ‘technology,’ meant to rewire your emotional self.” [It’s called brainwashing.]
“’We are just trying to create joy,’ another member said.”
NXIVM “remains highly secretive and exquisitely paranoid.” {I never heard “exquisitely” used with “paranoid” before].
“Anything in the group about skinniness, about punishment, about self-denial was simply to help members evolve.” [That’s what skinniness does- it helps us evolve.]


Pam Cafritz – even in death she aids Raniere… and makes him weep

Raniere with the late Pam Cafritz.

Vanessa writes about Pam Cafritz, who, presumably, she never met, as “a bubbly woman who was Raniere’s most important long-term girlfriend and a beloved mother figure to Nxivm members”.

Raniere: “broke into tears several times, particularly when talking about Cafritz’s death.”

Clare Bronfman “began crying as she told me about her friend’s death.”

Keith Raniere likes to walk and think. He also liked to gamble and lost a lot of money at it as well.

Raniere, the Renunciate

Raniere “received no salary from Nxivm, nor possessed a credit card, A.T.M. card or a car.”

Raniere said, “I don’t pay taxes because I live under the poverty level.”

Raniere: “taught that dexterous use of money — the assigning of value to various goods and services — was one of humanity’s highest virtues.”

“Raniere told me money was ‘noble.’”

In the larger Nxivm community, most thought Raniere was celibate. But the inner circle knew that he maintained multiple relationships from his home [i.e. sex lair].

[Vanessa offers her opinion:] “Consenting adults can surely engage in whatever sexual relationship they prefer, including many women having segmented and siloed relationships with one man.” [siloed relationships?]

“Raniere told me that he policed his relationships for ethical shortcomings.” [and found nothing?]

“[T]he manipulation of his girlfriends, and his girlfriends’ manipulation of other girlfriends, may also have been a feature of his private life.” [‘May’ have been a feature?]


May have manipulated girlfriends – Vanessa says. Raniere is pictured here with Toni Natalie
“He was honest about the fact that he was polyamorous and spoke to me about the importance of not only sex but intimacy.”
Raniere “to me, he was only willing to admit to two” [sexual relationships]. [Honest? she said].
“[A] majority of women in DOS never had anything to do with Raniere sexually.” [How does she know that?]
Raniere said, “It’s quite a point in life for me. I question my values, how I conduct myself, all of these things. I don’t think I’m seen as the person I think I am, and I also want to be the person that I think I am.”


Vanessa on the Good Bronfmans do with their money


The Bronfman sisters were “drawn to Raniere’s emphasis on ethics.”

Sara: “I always wanted to do something to impact the world.”

Clare: “continued to want to use her inherited money ethically.”

Raniere called Clare, “so supportive, so pure.”


Clare and Sara Bronfman spent an estimated $50 million in legal fees to destroy people’s lives, using their enormous wealth to corrupt the legal system as guided by Keith Raniere. But reading Vanessa’s story, one gets the impression that these two philanthropists have done nothing but kind deeds.

NXIVM Legacy

Vanessa writes “With access to Bronfman funds, Nxivm engaged in all manner of legacy-creating enterprises, many demonstrating kindness and concern for others.

“The group invited the Dalai Lama to Albany.”

“They’ve designed a ‘peace pledge’ for Mexicans”.

“Made a film about Raniere’s ideas to solve violence in the country.”

“Formed an a cappella group named… Simply Human.”

“They host ‘Vanguard Week,’ an annual celebration of Raniere’s birthday, running triathlons and solving Rubik’s Cubes.”

“Played volleyball, Raniere’s favorite sport, usually after 9 p.m., when he preferred to play.” [Games are suspended now that Raniere’s in jail].

The Power of the Tech

Clare Bronfman “produced a film about Nxivm improving the symptoms of Tourette patients, which screened at the Newport Beach Film Festival this spring.”
Nancy Salzman “introduced me to an 18-year-old high school student she was trying to help surmount Crohn’s disease through Nxivm’s technology.”
Keith Raniere “conceived a new type of school to teach children as many as eight languages at a time; each teacher speaks one language, on the theory that children pick up language more easily from a beloved caregiver.”
Nxivm members: “created and operate The Knife, an active website that uses ‘scientific analysis’ to gauge the relative honor of news outlets.”
{Vanessa’s story gets the highest honors]. 
“News was disinformation that could encourage fear, start wars and convince people of anything, but the Knife wielded its powerful tool nobly.”

Collateral = extra leverage to your conscience 

Raniere “introduced his followers to a concept called ‘collateral,’ or ‘collateralizing your word,’ which members understood to be ‘adding extra leverage to your conscience.’

“[T]rue collateral, the most direct way to show your trust.”

“Michele [a member] said she found her experience of giving collateral ‘growthful.’” [new word]
The brand with the initials of Keith Raniere and Allison Mack.

DOS = simply trying to address the place of women in the world


[“D]edicated DOS members insist that they began the secret group themselves” [i.e. without Raniere]

“[T]he group morphed into a military-style boot camp that was simply trying to address the place of women in the world, to make them realize that they were not victims.”

“Masters ‘help slaves count calories to save them from the trap of emotional eating, according to other women in the group.’

“Slaves might be told to abstain from orgasms, ostensibly to heal their negative sexual patterns.”

“Many women told me they improved from this scheme.”

“By the point that many women signed up for DOS, they had taken many steps where they felt they had given consent.”

“[A] majority of women in DOS never had anything to do with Raniere sexually…  thus it is impossible to say that DOS itself was a ‘sex-slave cult’ rather than a sex-slave cult and a women’s empowerment scheme,”

Allison Mack found her spine. She also found herself arrested for sex trafficking.

Allison Mack ‘I found my spine’ and will take the fall!

Mack: “came to Nxivm when she was unhappy with her TV acting career”.

Mack “asked Raniere to ‘make her a great actress again’

Mack “said that this was ‘about devotion’ and ‘like any spiritual practice or religion.’”

“I found my spine, and I just kept solidifying my spine every time I would do something hard,” Mack said passionately.”

“Mack told me each [slave pod] circle was “like a little family.”

“In her apartment, I was surprised to hear Mack take full responsibility for coming up with the DOS cauterized brand. She told me, ‘I was like: “Y’all, a tattoo? People get drunk and tattooed on their ankle ‘BFF,’ or a tramp stamp. I have two tattoos and they mean nothing.’ ” She wanted to do something more meaningful, something that took guts.”

[Yeah guts indeed and a lot of stupidity.]

“To be honest, I was surprised that she was sitting there at all. And Mack told me that she’d been experiencing some anxiety talking to a reporter” [she should have felt anxiety – she was being set up].

“It felt “scary and pressureful,’ [new word] she said.”

{Now listen to how Allison gets screwed and who screws her:] “But Lauren Salzman, who along with Raniere and Clare Bronfman had guided my highly controlled tour of their world, helped her by telling Mack to cast her mind back to when she was a child and received praise at the same time that other kids didn’t. This made Mack feel uncomfortable. But now she was surmounting her fear….”

And taking the fall.

Vanessa Grigoriadis… I’ll be the first to admit it. I was hired as Nxivm’s PR agent, but Vanessa is a much better PR agent for them than I was….

Raniere outsmarted Vanessa. The problem was only one of timing. Vanessa interviewed Raniere before he was arrested. He, Lauren – she is a clever 40 year old – and Clare set it up for Allison to take the fall and try to avoid his arrest.  Had the article come out sooner, maybe only Allison would have been arrested.

Tough break, kid.

Vanessa Grigoriadis leaving a Jness Track #11 with her BFF Sara Bronfman.

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Frank Parlato


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  • Nxivm, placing all their faith in the triumph of PR over jurisprudence. What is it about this situation that makes me so sure this strategy will not work? The shit quality of this PR ? Or the overwhelming mountain of evidential proof? Can’t decide.

  • Hilarious. Shadowstate has resorted to answering his own comments. Dude you are still infatuated with mack aren’t you? Especially after she turned you down on twitter.

    • And you’re obsessed with rehabilitating Allison Mack’s rotten reputation after she confessed in the New York Times to branding and enslaving women.

      In her apartment, I was surprised to hear Mack take full responsibility for coming up with the DOS cauterized brand. She told me, “I was like: ‘Y’all, a tattoo? People get drunk and tattooed on their ankle ‘BFF,’ or a tramp stamp. I have two tattoos and they mean nothing.’ ” She wanted to do something more meaningful, something that took guts.

      • There is no way Mack came up with this idea or moved forward with it without her Master say so. Think of the planning that went into this idea.

        First they had to come up with the branding concept
        They had to come up with the bill of goods that wipe be spilled for breaking the wows made
        They had to find someone to do the branding, where it would be done, how the brand would look and how to keep that suit quite
        How and when to get the group of 6 slaves to Albany at the same time and the manipulation to take place if someone in the group was having second thoughts
        Plus all the logical things not mentioned

        Come on, just watching YouTube videos of Mack and how mindless she was, there is no way she dreamed this idea up or come up with the Master plan to make it all take place.

  • The Raniere arrest warrant states that CC2 ran a small business called Delegates, described as a go-for service.

    Frank Report has stated that India Oxenberg was involved in a business with that name. I don’t recall the sourcing, or if she ran it, or was just one of the go-fers at one time.

    The Grigoriadis article says that India’s NXIVM business is a catering company called Mix. And that Vanguard “tuned up” India to realize that her highest aspiration was to be a caterer.

    So could we be wrong that CC2 is India? This would explain why India was not arrested at the same time as CC1 Allison Mack. Recall that it was reported that India was sleeping in Allison’s apartment when Allison was arrested.

    If India is not CC2, then who is? And why have they not been arrested?

    Who else is known to be associated with “Delegates” ?

    • I have confirmation from two sources that DELEGATES is India’s creation. i asked one about MIX being India’s company and it was indicated it is also possible India tried to launch MIX they were unsure. I never saw any BMW’s tooling around delivering meals in Knox Woods or Stage Run. It is possible MIX was part of the services offered by DELEGATES. I know Delegate offered errand running, house cleaning, and it could have involved meal prepping.

  • Ok can someone with better understanding of US law answer this. According to Wikipedia NXIVM quotes this sentence in the background and early years section…

    Raniere signed a consent order agreeing to a permanent ban on “promoting, offering or granting participation in a chain distribution scheme,” while denying any wrongdoing.

    Yet in our budding reporter’s article you have and I quote in reverse order…

    The structure of Consumers’ Buyline brings to mind Nxivm’s setup, with members recruiting other members and the way that Raniere was often introduced late in a participant’s membership, standing out of reach at the top of the pyramid. It might be surprising that people would sign up for a self-improvement endeavor led by a man who might have led a pyramid scheme, but today in Nxivm, leaders explain to incoming members that Consumers’ Buyline had been unfairly targeted, but Raniere refused to be vengeful and instead conceived the group as “an opposing thing that would be good in the world,” as one member told me. After developing another company — a health network selling vitamins and dietary supplements and recommending alternative doctors — with his girlfriend of the time, Toni Natalie, Raniere began thinking more deeply about persuasion and how you could talk people into anything, even helping themselves.

    Then previously…

    Bronfman outlined the shape of the group for me. Raniere was called “Vanguard” because he was the leader of their philosophical movement. Salzman, his first student, was “Prefect.” Bronfman and everyone else were students of Vanguard’s. Centers like this one were the place for Nxivm courses, though they weren’t taught by Raniere, who had “duplicated” himself when he made Salzman headmistress. Nor were they often taught by Salzman anymore, but rather by members she had instructed, members whom those members had instructed, and so on. All were told not to deviate from Raniere’s blueprints.

    Is this not the reporter and even CB kind of incriminating KR in the press? You could argue NS was the one in the driving seat but she was the student of the person at the top so it all leads back there surely?

  • Here’s the thing: Keith, Clare, Nancy and Lauren may have all decided that Allison’s going to take the blame for everything DOS related but I think the feds have evidence implicating all of them and the feds are going to stick to the actual criminal documents they have and not just go by what an article wants them to think.

  • I’m always cautious in predicting what’s going to happen in an ongoing case – especially one that has so many issues and potential defendants like this one. But, based on how the Feds usually go about building their cases, I think this one will likely have several stages. One of those stages will be “vertical”: i.e., more charges against Raniere and Mack. Another will be “horizontal”: i.e., more defendants being charged for the same crimes as Raniere and Mack. And, finally, a “sniper” stage, where individual defendants will be charged with a specific set of crimes (Some may escape this by becoming cooperating witnesses in the other stages).

    The big question for me is whether the Feds will bring RICO charges against the really key players: i.e., Raniere, the Bronfmans, and the Salzmans. If they go that route, those people are in for a long and brutal journey through the American criminal justice system. Which sounds perfectly appropriate.

    • I’ve seen RICO in action in Federal Court. This statute is designed EXPRESSLY to dismantle criminal enterprises.

      If you see RICO in an indictment of the Bronfmans or in a superseding indictment, it does not bode well for ScareCrow (Clarecrow).

  • It doesn’t matter who came up with the 20-30 minute cauterizing-initials idea (let’s stop using the word “branding,” it’s far less painful and torturing of a concept), Raniere went along with it, “joyfully.” The FBI probably has plenty of evidence he fully approved of it.

    However, if Mack came up with the idea, it means there is FAR less chance of a deal for her.

  • You only need a lot of money to get good press on the TNT. Even world’s most horrible dictadors like Venezuela’s Maduro have bought their share of good press there.

  • They didn’t even manage to publish before A&E ran their NXIVM episode of Cults and Extreme Beliefs.

    I believe that, with the electronic evidence directly contradicting Allison Mack’s claims, she would have been arrested, anyhow.

    Baited breath, waiting for more arrests. Probably the rest of the NXIVM lawyers are, too. That is when their billables really ramp up. No good for business to be sitting around waiting for the clients to be charged.

    • Where are defense attorneys getting information on their clients? I am absolutely certain they are reading article after article on this site, including the comments. So, every time someone writes a comment here it gets read multiple times by multiple attorneys to see if there is something relevant to their case. That all gets billed to NXIVM. The most amusing aspect of this is that Frank Parlato is actually generating huge revenues for the lawyers, so they probably secretly appreciate his articles.

      Just think — every time you or someone else writes a comment here it gets billed to Clare Bronfman. Heck, maybe she should hire a new set of civil lawyers to shut this site down, in order to reduce the bills from defense attorneys who spend hours each day reading the articles and comments here.

        • Allison’s mother and Allison’s sycophantic friend/slave/lover India O are welcome to comment on what I say at any time
          I can always use a good laugh.

      • defense attorneys are reading article after article on this site, including the comments.

        Her’s a comment for the defense attorney’s to read:

        Your Clients Are Schmucks!
        And I use that word in the original Yiddish sense.

  • Allison Mack’s worst enemy is herself.
    That’s why she has consistently made terrible decisions for twelve years.
    And Allison Mack has displayed a remarkable lack of a moral compass.

    Allison Mack fell in with a pervert and charlatan.
    She willingly became his procurer and took pride in being called “Madam.”
    The fact that other women called her “pimp” did not bother Allison Mack.

    Allison Mack admitted coming up with the idea of branding women like cattle.
    Allison Mack also eagerly collected sexual photographs and videos to blackmail women all the while talking about female empowerment.
    Allison Mack displayed a callous indifference to the harm she inflicted on other women.

    Allison Mack starved and exercised herself into a frenzy the way medieval Europeans flagellated themselves with whips into religious frenzies.

    And Allison Mack fell in with a ruthless gang of criminals who will sacrifice her in a New York Minute.
    Allison Mack turned down very chance to leave this cult
    Moreover Allison Mack is guilty of everything the Feds charged her with.

    And yet it is difficult to feel sorry for her.
    Every criminal conspiracy has members who are too stupid for their own good and they fill the prisons.
    What is the penalty for being an idiot?
    Allison Mack is about to find out.

  • The prosecution will argue that the Jane Does were blackmailed into being branded and having sex with Keith, and didn’t really give consent. They only acted out of fear that their collateral would be released. Couldn’t one argue that anything Allison said or did after taking her own vow could be viewed in the same light? Perhaps she starved herself and did everything Keith said, all to avoid her own collateral being released? Again, just a thought..

      • had ulterior motives in writing this story, then how can we know that the story is even accurate? If Vanessa’s goal is to get Keith out of trouble, perhaps this interview never even happened and Vanessa made it up?

      • is loyal to Keith and the purpose of her writing this story was to shift blame away from him, why not go a bit further down the rabbit hole and suggest that this interview with Allison never even happened? Is there a recording? Maybe Vanessa just made it up?

    • I think you are falling into a media-created trap. The media describes this as a “sex and branding case” because they need to boil stories down into simple headlines that readers can understand in an instant. The prosecutors are currently describing this as a sex cult case. But it looks to me like that was just the opening charge. I see a whole lot of leads for the FBI to follow, as evidence by this conversation between two former NXIVM women. There are so many allegations of various criminal acts, that it is reasonable to assume the FBI and prosecutors are thinking about converting this into a massive RICO case involving all kinds of things like immigration violations, tax fraud, money laundering, extortion, and possible murder conspiracies. The sheer size of the case is likely overwhelming the FBI with leads to chase, and crimes to be added to the indictment. https://frankreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/2015-03-24-people-v-bb-keeffe-transcript.pdf

  • Curious that no one is identifying Vanessa Grigordis as being a member of NXIVM. If she attended classes, doesn’t that maker her a member, by definition? At any rate, how is positive PR going to help the Van-Klan in federal court? Is the FBI and prosecutors going to stop digging, and decide to say “oh well, we tried, but a NXIVM member that works for The NY Times says all these people are sweet and innocent”?

    • Agree, it absolutely makes her a member by definition. Just like Allison Mack’s parents.

      But you’re supposed to believe whatever the NYT says without ever questioning it, so get back in your queue and stop thinking for yourself, naughty one.

  • Good thing Vanessa didn’t do a piece on Adolf Eichmann or Charles Manson, LOL.

    I can only imagine how those would have sounded…

    Maybe a piece on Charles Manson would have sounded like this…

    Charlie entered the room with a stoic look on his sad face, while wearing green khaki pants and a red polo shirt. He didn’t look like a wrestler. He made me a bowl of Fruit Loops in his lovely remodeled trailer kitchen. Peaking thru his trailer window, I could see a rainbow colored VW bug — sans engine — parked up on blocks in his front yard. I got a good vibe.

    Charlie rejected the notion that he brainwashed anybody……since brainwashing somebody was a scientific impossibility and a farce. He merely indoctrinated followers while asking “What is wrongful about my indoctrination?”.

    Charlie further said that everything bad was Susan Atkins’ fault, not his.

    Had I interviewed Susan Atkins before her death, I would have learned that Susan said: “Y’all wanna just hurt people? People get drunk and hurt people everyday. It means nothing. Let’s do something more meaningful that takes guts”.


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.” In addition, he was credited in the Starz docuseries 'Seduced' for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

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
Email: frankparlato@gmail.com