A reader of Frank Report made a strong argument in an email today. He opposes the idea promulgated by Barbara Bouchey and others, some of whom were evidently interviewed by CBC – who say there was a great deal of good in NXIVM.
In response to my post, where I quote Josh Bloch, host of the CBC podcast, who said, “One of the things [NXIVM] did very well was create a really powerful hook. For whatever messed-up things happened in the higher levels of the organization, we’ve talked to dozens of people who took their entry-level courses … and almost everyone says they loved them. They’re really good, they were stimulating, we got a lot out of them, and we had these breakthroughs, etc.,” – this reader, alluded to above, gave this opinion.
By A READER
Large-group awareness training [LGAT], like the entry level of NXIVM, is fundamentally a toxic practice and it is a recruitment tool for this kind of abuse.
A 1983 study on Lifespring found that “although participants often experience a heightened sense of well-being as a consequence of the training, the phenomenon is essentially pathological”, meaning that, in the program studied, “the training systematically undermines ego functioning and promotes regression to the extent that reality testing is significantly impaired”.
There is a perception of “help”, but frankly without regulation that requires some kind of accountability, ethically, for these organization/streamlining investigation and complaints, they are constantly going to be used by duplicitous individuals for exploitation.
People feel good with collective brainwashing, because, like any kind of abusive relationship, they suck you in with benefits. It is only later that the true cost is seen. However, you are now in too deep and can’t turn back.
It is like in Harry Potter, where half the death eaters say they were under a mind control charm.
There is no way to falsify that statement and the kind of shithead that would abuse that circumstance would lie to avoid accountability, especially if that narrative is handed on a silver platter.
It is strange to talk about the “benefit”. Drugs are beneficial initially. They just have long term consequences…without knowing about the medical side effects – drugs are great! They make you feel good. If we strip away everything in NXIVM – it was addictive dopamine dealing.
We consider someone an addict, until they start dealing to support their habit. Then they are a dealer and need to make amends for the harm done – if they are to be forgiven.
More dangerously, when a top level drug dealer gets busted, their customers still need a fix and the mid-level dealers still have relationships/liabilities.
If what the reader [above] says is true – there would still be ample justification for some of NXIVM’s long term [ex]members – who are likened to drug dealers above – the former High Rank of NXIVM, and former recruiters, coaches and proctors, to argue “there was a lot of good in NXIVM! – only Raniere and his top level leaders were evil.”
In reality – if this reader is correct – there was never any good in NXIVM. It was like a drug; like an addiction – and those who were addicted – especially those who became NXIVM’s so-called “drug dealers” – have every motivation to rewrite the narrative and claim, “There was a lot of good in NXIVM” – to save face – to justify long years spent, and all the people they recruited – some of them who went on to be destroyed.
Even those who took the initial courses [not the NXIVM dealer-recruiter, but just the common, everyday student] who paid thousands of dollars for the 5-day course – would have a motive to say, or even delude themselves into believing, “There was a lot of good in the NXIVM course” – since they spent good money on it and don’t want to come off as fools.
For my own part, I never took an intensive. But I read the modules. There was nothing I saw that one could not get from a $20 self-help book. I stand by what I said in the last post: “What is good in NXIVM is not original, and what is original is not good.”
Even if you were to say there was a lot of good in NXIVM, mixed with some evil, I have used the analogy, when talking to NXIVM apologists, that “even a drop of poison in a gallon of milk still poisons the person.”
I am inclined to believe that, even if there was some good in NXIVM – there were no good intentions of its filthy pig-like leader, Vanguard. And anyone out there claiming it was mostly good – usually has a motive for saying it – because it obscures their own part in an enterprise that harmed people and destroyed lives.
NXIVM ad mortem.
That said, I want to make one final comment. I have met a lot of ex-NXIVM members, and for the most part they are – in my opinion – good people. Some are very good. Most of them had good intentions. They wanted to do good in the world [and still do.]
Maybe this is another reason why NXIVM is not good at all. It took good people, who otherwise might have done some real good – and turned them to doing evil – or at least wasting part of their lives – unknowingly, perhaps – on a wicked scheme of a dire and sinister leader.
Raniere plotted their destruction at every turn. They might have wanted good for the world. They were fooled. That does not make them evil. Maybe they can grow from this and become even better.
But this idea of trying to rewrite the narrative – to say their [NXIVM] drug addiction and drug dealing was for the good – or there was a lot of good in it – is a fallacy – a further bad effect of NXIVM – this need to justify time spent – unknowingly – in a criminal cult.
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.
IMDb — Frank Parlato
Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083