Raniere Is No Sociopath; He’s Just a Selfish Asshole

Keith Alan Raniere isnlt a sociopath. He's a simple conman and grifter - who stumbled onto Bronfman millions.

By Acateon

Keith Raniere may simply be a guy who takes advantage of people for his own benefit.

He’s a scam artist and a liar –  well, he’s got plenty of company there among the entirely sane. He got lucky with the Nxivm scam, mainly because the Bronfmans happened to drop into his lap.

After two decades on easy street, Raniere’s luck ran out.

I see a lot of speculation about Raniere being a sociopath. Okay, maybe. Or, he’s just a fairly clever guy who has no problem taking people’s money. He sets himself up as a “life coach” and a guru, and he suckers some fools into believing him.

He studies Scientology’s methods and copies them.

Adds a smattering of Eastern religion mumbo-jumbo to some stock self improvement crap freely available at the local library.

He’s got a knack for the soft sell-persuasive “I’m listening” manner that make fools believe he’s really interested in them and cares about them. So they throw money at him.

This is no different than what millions of successful and semi-successful salesmen do every day. There’s nothing particularly pathological about it. He went after his enemies hard, it’s true. That’s pretty much the norm for a lot of businessmen. If they can sue the competition and ruin them and drive them out of business, they do so. Legal firms proudly talk of “going to war” and ‘taking no prisoners”, and they’re not kidding.

This is not to defend Keith Raniere. Far from it. I did a happy dance when he was found guilty on all counts. I don’t like the “sociopath” argument because if anything it EXCUSES his behavior.

He’s not sick, he’s not abnormal, he doesn’t have a mental condition. If he does, how can he be held truly responsible? If he’s a sociopath he lacks normal empathy, he lacks conscience, so how can we expect him to show empathy and follow his conscience? If he’s a sociopath he doesn’t really understand why what he did is wrong. He doesn’t see other people as people like himself. He can’t be expected to, really.

I don’t want Raniere to be given that kind of excuse. Not without proof.

So in the absence of expert testimony from trained professionals who have conducted lengthy examinations of the man, I’m going to assume Raniere is not a mental case. He’s just a selfish asshole, a criminal who committed his crimes to advantage himself.

He’s no monster, he’s nothing exceptional, he’s simply a guy with no morals who ran a grift thinking he was smart enough to get away with it.

Scam artists like him are a dime a dozen.

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  • He would certainly fit the criteria for severe narcissistic personality disorder; not just fit it but be a textbook case or it.
    The term “sociopath” isn’t a psychological construct; it is a sociological construct and does not really mean anything other than someone is a social ill.

    What people usually mean is antisocial PD. I don’t believe he fits the criteria for thst. Even if he did though, it would not excuse his behavior, just show that it is a pattern entrenched in his personality, so not likely to change or be happenstance. while it is true that antisocial PDs have trouble with acting appropriately on the spot, they still know right from wrong in general and can make the right decisions if they want to. When they say “lack of conscience”, it is mostly after the fact, in small things that are generally thought antisocial, but for them might just seem like the normal thing to do. Either that or not accepting what they did was wrong for themselves, but they know it is wrong generally, just not for them. Empathy is not a moral tool, it goes out the window as soon as there is a strong emotion. People who rely on it to do the right thing rarely do in big situations.

  • To effectively argue against KAR being a sociopath, you would have to trot out one example of any kind, selfless or compassionate act – no matter how small – or indication of conscience or true remorse. Or perhaps extreme grief at the death of Cafritz or Jeske. I don’t think you, or anyone, can.

    Oh, and sociopaths DO understand that what they do is wrong – they just don’t care. And no, it’s not a mental illness so that would never be a defense for him. It’s easy to dismiss him as merely a “guy with no morals.”

    The prison system is bursting at the seams with born sociopaths and psychopaths. That’s not to say that many sociopaths function reasonably well in society and do not cross the line into horrible criminal behavior. They just make people’s lives miserable – but within legal boundaries.

    KAR took things way over the top and was escalating over the years to more egregious acts. That’s why I think he was more than a garden variety sociopath who is ruthless in business pursuits. Remember, he wanted certain people DEAD (Toni Natalie and Rick Ross, to name a few).

    • Orange County
      There is a fine line between sociopaths, psychopaths and narcissists, but the common thread is a lack of empathy.
      It would be impossible for any of us to know exactly where Keith fits in the spectrum, but obviously he would fit the diagnoses for at least one of these conditions.

      While most people with these disorders never do prison time, you can bet that the majority of violent criminals are either sociopaths or psychopaths.

      Anyone who has had a close relationship with a person who is on the NPD spectrum can tell you what type of chaos these people will bring to your life, though many of these individuals are experts at hiding their true nature.

      I think Keith was able to hide his NPD from most for many years, but he required more and more narcissistic supply to satisfy him, and he therefore became increasingly reckless, which is pretty typical behaviour for these types, and often leads to their downfall.

  • Acteon,

    I enjoyed reading your trolling article.


    Why did you take the name of history’s first peeping Tom as your alias?


    Perhaps, because it is a Greek mythological name far enough removed from popular culture as to give you the semblance of a scholarly mind….

  • Acateon,

    I have the feeling you are writing for some possibly obscure motives. I don’t believe your intellect does not allow you to see the fallacy of your position in this article. Your past perspectives betray a very intelligent AND knowledgeable human being. Alternatively you may be part to some kind of agreement to ‘write’, which is most likely the case. I won’t present any counter-arguments to your article due to believing you know reality far too well to have anything presented to you on this topic and so many others.

    It’s not that easy playing stupid while displaying one’s true persona previously! At least not for the majority of readers/contributors on this forum.


    P.S. If my memory serves me correctly, you presented yourself as Actaeon until now. Just saying… 😛

  • Sociopathy Psychopathy and Narcissism are behavior disorders rather than a mental illnesses. It doesn’t excuse anything but rather explains a lot abut what makes the person tick. Most of us have consciences but these people do not. That’s what makes them dangerous.

  • If it wasn’t for the money that the totally evil Clare Bronfman threw at him, we’d probably never have heard about him. He would still have carried out his sex offenses, but on a smaller scale. All the members of inner circle enabled him and his secrets.

    Thats why they need to go to prison.

  • He definitely has marked symptoms of sociopathy. Being a selfish asshole is just one of them.

    • Scott, there’s no point in suing anyone if there is no legal basis. If there is no legal basis then there is no chance of winning, and the case may even be dismissed as frivolous. This is probably why the people who intimidated me by threatening to sue me never followed through with it. BTW, they read this forum, so let me wish one of them a very happy Birthday. Lol.

  • At this point, it doesn’t matter whether he’s a sociopath and/or a selfish a$$hole. He didn’t play that card and now it’s too late. It wasn’t just Bronfman money that made him “successful,” he always had a group of fawning, evil women around him as his assistants. Some of them woke up and left him, some died of cancer, some probably flipped, some plead guilty to various felonies, and some may still get prosecuted.

  • I don’t know about sociopath, but he is certainly a narcisist. It’s all about himself all the time since he was a kid and the others around him, in his view, should be subservient to him. Also, he is cold, he lacks empathy. He thinks always he knows better and is careless about other people’s suffering, specially if inflicted by him.

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