50 traits of a cult leader – how many fit Raniere? [with 50 photos of Vanguard]

His name is Keith Raniere. But he has instructed his followers to call him Vanguard - the leader of the new thought. .

A reader writes, “I came across this fascinating list of traits of the male cult leader on a website (50 items). It’s more specific than most and fits KAR entirely.”

1.        Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, or brilliance. 

Keith Raniere makes the cover of Forbes Magazine in 2003. The publicity he got was not what he expected.

2.        Demands blind unquestioned obedience. 

For, as he likes to say, he knows all, sees all and controls all. His brain waves even set off radar detectors.

3.        Requires excessive admiration from followers and outsiders. 

Spiritual masters: The Dalai Lama and Master Raniere. Although they teach different philosophies, Raniere’s slaves say his teachings are cosmically higher than the Dalai Lama’s.

4.        Has a sense of entitlement – expecting to be treated special at all times.

He’s has had people killed for his beliefs and for theirs, he said in a 2009 video.

5.        Is exploitative of others by asking for their money or that of relatives putting others at financial risk.

Master Raniere rarely appeared at a class for beginners. He preferred not to meet a winsome lady until after she completed the 16-day Intensive. [Photo copyright Toni Natalie and TheFallofNXIVM.com.
6.        Is arrogant and haughty in his behavior or attitude. 

He has a winning smile – which some have suggested made it all the better for him to chew you up and destroy your life.

7.        Has an exaggerated sense of power (entitlement) that allows him to bend rules and break laws.

Mr. Raniere has many profound teachings that some simply do not seem to understand. The simplest one, upon which the other teachings emanate, is that he is the Vanguard and everything is about him, his needs and desires.

8.        Takes sexual advantage of members of his sect or cult. 

Cross-eyed genius. Some people say that when they met Keith Raniere it was like “he’s looking through you.” Unfortunately, it’s unclear which eye is actually looking at you.

9 Sex is a requirement with adults and sub adults as part of a ritual or rite.

Some of the ladies agree, “if he wasn’t our Vanguard, we’d call him a perv.”

10.        Is hypersensitive to how he is seen or perceived by others. 

[Photo copyright Toni Natalie and TheFallofNxivm.com.] Keith Raniere’s hair-raising challenge was the work of keeping a harem in line and keeping track of which ones were branded. Now his challenge is how to keep from being locked up in prison for the rest of his life.

11.        Publicly devalues others as being inferior, incapable, or not worthy. 

[Photo copyright Toni Natalie and TheFallofNxivm.com.] When not gambling with other people’s money, he was teaching women how to be slaves. While Raniere enjoys pleasing women, under the present circumstances, he may  never get the chance again.

12.        Makes members confess their sins or faults publicly subjecting them to ridicule or humiliation while revealing exploitable weaknesses of the penitent.

The genius behind DOS, the world’s first multilevel blackmail and sex slavery marketing program.

13.        Has ignored the needs of others, including biological, physical, emotional, and financial needs. 

Keith Raniere has said he spends up to 20 hours a day, using his gargantuan brain, trying to solve the world’s problems. He wrote a study in 1989 that proved he was one of the top three problem solvers in the world.

14.        Is frequently boastful of accomplishments.

Keith Raniere loved slender women. When he was free, he put them on low-calorie diets. Evidently, men do not need these same low-calorie diets – as one look at Raniere demonstrates.

15.        Needs to be the center of attention and does things to distract others to ensure that he or she is being noticed by arriving late, using exotic clothing, overdramatic speech or by making theatrical entrances. 

From a photo on his website.

16.        Has insisted in always having the best of anything (house, car, jewelry, clothes) even when others are relegated to lesser facilities, amenities, or clothing.

Keith Raniere on the cover of a Mexican magazine. Note he photo submitted by Raniere is photoshopped to make his skin and eyes darker. He looks almost Mexican. His actual eye color is blue.

17.        Doesn’t seem to listen well to the needs of others, communication is usually one-way in the form of dictates. 

Keith Raniere teaches that a woman who is “integrated” needs only 500 calories per day. If a woman needs more than 800 calories she clearly has defiance issues.

18.        Haughtiness, grandiosity, and the need to be controlling is part of his personality. 

While he always said he had his students’ best interest at heart, the evidence shows oppositely. The question is was he just a bumbler or did he mislead people for his sadistic pleasure?

19.        Behaves as though people are objects to be used, manipulated or exploited for personal gain.

Keith Raniere said he was an East Coast Judo Champion when he was 11. Sadly he is now being humiliated by fellow inmates – most of whom have never taken a judo class in their lives.

20.        When criticized, he tends to lash out not just with anger but with rage. 

Get one for your garden.


21.        Anyone who criticizes or questions him is called an “enemy.” 

In the old days, he only had one day for his  birthday celebration. Then it expanded to Vanguard Week – which was actually 10 days.

22.        Refers to non-members or non-believers in him as “the enemy.” 

Not a real photo. His enemies helped him get new accommodations. Ironically it was the exact accommodations he planned for them.


He’s wise, as he is good looking.


Not a real photo. Keith Raniere, a true democrat when it comes to women. He will take them in all heights and hair colors – provided they are young and very slender.

23.        Acts imperious at times, not wishing to know what others think or desire. 

Not a real photo. This photshopped image was first published on Frank Report. See left hand lower corner of raped teen.

24.        Believes himself to be omnipotent. 

This is a real photo – of Keith – a master of volleyball – on the courts at Clifton Park where he played with students on Friday nights.

25.        Has “magical” answers or solutions to problems.


Not a real photo. Keith Raniere is in jail with savage men who would think nothing of anally ravishing his person. Thankfully, he is a judo expert and one would think he can easily defeat any would-be aggressor.

26.        Is superficially charming.

Keith Raniere sitting inside a Mexican police vehicle, March 26, 2018. It was the day that joy ended for Vanguard and began for those he chose to make his enemies.

27.        Habitually puts down others as inferior and only he is superior. 

This marvelous portrait of Sir Keith Raniere, sketched by Michelle Salzman, and hung for years at Nxivm headquarters, should be inspiration enough to beckon his “friends’ to come out of the shadows and support their liege. Not a single student – of all the 17,000 – has made a public statement about how great his teachings were for them.

28.        Has a certain coldness or aloofness about him that makes others worry about who this person really is and or whether they really know him. 

Our second last known photo of Raniere. It is one of a series taken by the New York Times in connection with a story in their magazine. It was taken in Mexico a few months before his arrest. Looks like a pretty good hair dye job – with a nice stroke of grey at the temples. Nice work.


He went to Mexico to stay out of jail. He had his attorney, Michael Sullivan, call the wrong district of the DOJ [The Northern District of NY] to give him cover so that in the event he was caught, he could lie his way out and say he was always available for the US Feds. His Chance Card didn’t work too well. Maybe if Sullivan had called the right district DOJ  [Eastern Distric of NY] – the one that Frank Report, New York Times, and major Mexican media – announced was investigating Raniere – and perhaps if he had told Sullivan about cards left by FBI agents who came to Monterrey trying to find him –  and if Sullivan then called the right DOJ district – or the FBI agents who left their cards – then maybe the judge might have believed him that he knew nothing about being under investigation and was not trying to flee US jurisdiction and granted him bail.

29.        Is deeply offended when there are perceived signs of boredom, being ignored or of being slighted. 

Not a real photo. Keith played concert-level perversion at the age of 57.

30.        Treats others with contempt and arrogance. 

Not a real photo:  One of Keith Raniere’s famous quotes is “He who has the most joy, wins.”  For Raniere, there could be winners and, ergo, losers in “joy.”

31.        Is constantly assessing for those who are a threat or those who revere him.

And what about that sweater?

32.        The word “I” dominates his conversations. He is oblivious to how often he references himself. 

A slide of the modest Vanguard shown to the audience on the occasion of his 10-day birthday celebration called Vanguard Week.

33.        Hates to be embarrassed or fail publicly – when he does he acts out with rage. 

This modest photo of the thinker graced Vanguard’s website.

34.        Doesn’t seem to feel guilty for anything he has done wrong nor does he apologize for his actions. 

Here we see a familiar sight for neighbors in Knox Woods in days gone by:  The Vanguard on a walk with some comely lady. Here we see him  expounding to Dani Padilla, longtime harem member and DOS Front Line Master.
He shows others how to be an athlete.

35.        Believes he possesses the answers and solutions to world problems.

His formulas are subtle and not easy to understand. Students pay from $2,000- $10,000 for “Intensives” to glimpse the unusual teachings of Keith Raniere. 

36.        Believes himself to be a deity or a chosen representative of a deity. 

37.        Rigid, unbending, or insensitive describes how this person thinks. 

Actual photo of Keith Raniere’s  stubs feet. Reportedly his feet are nearly square – five inches by six inches.

38.        Tries to control others in what they do, read, view, or think.

Not a real photo. Keith Raniere has gotten more than his fair share of publicity since 2017 when Frank Report first broke the blackmail and branding story of DOS in June. Most of the subsequent publicity has been less than flattering.

39.        Has isolated members of his sect from contact with family or outside world.


Vanguard has told students he was paid more than $100,000 per hour to coach high-level executives.

40.        Monitors and or restricts contact with family or outsiders.

Not a real photo. Keith Raniere claims he was reading at the age of six months.

41.        Works the least but demands the most.

Not a real photo. Keith Raniere teaches that the offering of his sperm on the body of a woman means he has marked her as his slave and she may never be with another man the rest of her life – otherwise it might kill him because of the esoteric connection they have made with his ejaculate.

42.        Has stated that he is “destined for greatness” or that he will be “martyred.”

Not a real photo. Keith Raniere [left] won the East Coast Judo Championship, he said, when he was 11.
43.        Seems to be highly dependent of tribute and adoration and will often fish for compliments.

Not a real photo. What Keith did, it has been said by his attorney Marc Agnfilo, has been offered since the days of Eden. In a sense, that is what Keith wanted – a garden of Eden, in suburban Albany, NY, with plenty of Eves and only one Adam.

44.        Uses enforcers or sycophants to ensure compliance from members or believers.

Not a real photo: On Nxivm websites, Raniere is compared to athlete Jim Thorpe.

45.        Sees self as “unstoppable” perhaps has even said so.

Not a real photo. A DOS slave [l] lets her Vanguard [c] know she has followed his orders and brought her boyfriend [lower r] back into the Society of Protectors [SOP]. Some have derided SOP, calling it the Society of Cuckolds.
46.        Conceals background or family which would disclose how plain or ordinary he is.

Vanguard goes on stage at V-Week 2016 to talk about his greatness. He had a big audience that year – over 350 adoring students who paid more than $2,000 each to attend. This year, he did not appear for his 10-day birthday celebration. It was canceled on account of his incarceration. No plans have been announced as yet for 2019 Vanguard Week.

47.        Doesn’t think there is anything wrong with himself – in fact, sees himself as perfection or “blessed.”

Keith Raniere said he has hundreds of patented inventions. As far as anyone knows not a single one is in use anywhere.

48.       Has taken away the freedom to leave, to travel, to pursue life, and liberty of followers.

Keith Raniere appears with Eddie Albert on an Infomercial in the 1990s. He paid Albert to promote his Consumer Buy Line company. In the infomercial, Albert lauds the company’s unique buying formula [later revealed to be a pyramid scheme] and mentions that Keith is one of the smartest men in the world. Keith’s best line from the infomercial is “Yes, this idea is so brilliant, I even amazed myself!”  Consumer Buy Line later was shut down by numerous Attorneys General in various states, including New York, leaving thousands of investors stiffed of money. Keith put on his bio that he had wonderful success from the business which made him worth millions at the early age of 30.
49.        Has isolated the group physically (moved to a remote area) so as to not be observed.

Vanguard being filmed by one of his followers.

50.        He has a grandiose idea of who he is and what he can achieve.

One wonders if Vanguard understands what happened to him in the past year. How he went from ruling and ruining the lives of so many to becoming a slave of the state. As he took his fall, he took down a number of his closest followers. One wonders if they understand what happened to them and how it happened. Do they still think he is the worshipful Vanguard?

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Frank Parlato


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  • Back some 60 years ago, Charles Dederich had a great notion and founded Synanon. He thought he should receive the Nobel Peace Award; instead, he pled guilty for conspiracy to murder. He wasn’t so much into the sexual misconduct but otherwise he makes Raniere seem like a boy scout.

  • That guy sucks just a manipulative shitbag, ripping off good people to do devious stuff, a poor mans David Koresh – the ATF, because he is a pussy. H e should man up let the others off the hook for his perverse lifestyle

    • Hey! Feminists keep telling us how very smart women are, yet they (women) regularly totally fall for A-holes like this!

      Now, just why is that? Guessing it’s daddy issues, combined with over-active “pleasure buttons”(Clits)! No wonder the Muzzies favor clitoridectomies; keeps their ladies “semi-sane”.

  • And yet the state of the Union hasn’t been this good in decades. Democrats are embracing socialism and exist in an alternate reality.

  • A perfect description of Donald Trump. In fact, Trump has more of these traits than Raniere does, I think.

    • You told Peterson to stay out of Canadian politics, so you sshould follow your own advice and stay out of American politics. Besides, Peterson is currently living in Canada.

      • Scott, can an ego be cult-like? Trump is severely narcissistic, and his followers are cult-like, particularly the idiots who believe in the QAnon hoax. These people are spreading their dangerous propaganda in Canads as well, so it’s EVERYONES concern, not just Americans.

        Canadian politicians are NOT spreading any dangerous propaganda, Peterson is the propaganda spreader.

        There have been incidents now in both the US and Canada where alt-right members have been arrested and found to have a large weapons cache, and plans to use the weapons against civilians and/or liberal politicians.

        • Which “dangerous propaganda” are you referring to? Freedom? Strong borders? Canada spreads the propaganda of socialism. What propaganda is Peterson spreading? Criminal Dems? There have been incidents in both the U.S. and Canada where alt-left members have been arrested for violence or plans of violence. So there are nut-jobs on both sides. What’s your point?

          • First of all, there is no such thing as “alt- left”. What do you even refer to when you say that? Alt-right (a term invented by Richard Spencer) includes groups such as White Nationalists, Proud Boys, Soldiers of Odin, the 3%ers, The Klann, and a number of other white supremacist/anti-Muslim/anti-immigration hate groups.

            The propaganda Peterson is spreading is that the QAnon narrative is real, and that there is a some kind of secret group of evil satanic Democrat out to destroy everyone….its all BS and even Peterson must know this.

            The QAnon hoax was started by Roger Stone, Alex Jones, and a few other alt-right liars (which I’ve said was probably the case since I first heard about QAnon) and now I’ve found people who have some pretty convincing evidence to prove that.

          • Get a life, and stop pushing your resentment towards Amway. Frank is nothing more than a right wing tool who pushes his own agenda. It’s clear Frank is wrapped up in Roger Stone and Trump. According to Frank.

          • The alt-left is described here: https://www.google.com/search?ei=9GR7XL6qDIiWsgXhj7ww&q=alt-left+&oq=alt-left+&gs_l=psy-ab.3..35i39j0i30l5.18202.19787..20288…0.0..0.186.795.7j2……0….1..gws-wiz…….0i71j0i22i30.koydHGWU7N8 so it does exist. Did you think I didn’t have access to google? Go edgamicate yourself. LOL

            Unlike the alt-left, the alt-right is a teeny-tiny percentage of the right.

            I haven’t seen Peterson mention QAnon. If he did, it’s a teeny-tiny part of his overall narrative. Provide your “pretty convincing evidence.”

          • I have a life, and I’ll continue to eduate others about Amway and other MLM scams. If “It’s clear Frank is wrapped up in Roger Stone and Trump. According to Frank,” where’s your proof?

          • Scott, surely you are smarter than that. Antifa is all you’ve got? A very small fringe group that protests against hate groups? Lol!

            And if you don’t know what Peterson is posting,then don’t comment on it. I do know what he’s been posting, and I’ve provided links to his page to anti-hate groups. We don’t need his contribution to the QMoron issue i (or the Lunatic Fringe, as I think of them) in Canada.

            BTW, Red Rider nailed it with that song, years ago…Tom must be psychic. 😉

          • Sorry, I forgot to address your question on the pretty convincing evidence.
            I’ve seen the posts and tweets by Roger Stone and his surrogates, and if you look, you can find this too. I won’t provide the links publicly, for safety reasons , as people have already been targeted for harassment. The initial harassment by Stone and his gang is actually what prompted this person to collect the evidence. Apparently much of the evidence is not on a public database…but I trust that this person has not exaggerated their claims. I also am going to guess that some of their info will become public over the next few months.

            But there is a ton of very interesting and damning information publicly available on Stone and Manafort…just start searching.

        • Flowers,

          I have learned the hard way that arguing with Scott “milk&soda” Johnson is like banging your head against the wall….
          you don’t get anywhere and end up with a headache.

          You’re arguing with “Scott” the guy that enjoys tormenting, ridiculing, and bullying people, who have been physically and emotionally damaged or suffered the loss of a loved one.

    • Keep the politics out of it and stick to the topic at hand.
      NXIVM is the topic.
      The attempt to hijack the conversation is annoying.
      Vent those opinions in the proper forum.

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.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

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