For those of us who have been dealing with Keith Raniere for many years, we really didn’t learn all that much new about him during his 27-day trial.
We knew before the trial started that he was an egomaniac and a narcissist who didn’t have all the skills he claimed to have.
We also knew he was a conman who didn’t accomplish all the achievements he took credit for (Seriously, who believed that a 5’6″ white guy with club feet could tie the New York State record for the 100-yard dash?).
We knew he craved younger, thinner women who would do whatever he told them to do.
We knew he was the kind of person who always blamed someone else for their mistakes.
We knew he was a pussy who would not do well in prison (Trust me on this one: having spent 28 months at MDC, I can assure you that, regardless of whatever sentence he gets, Ranire will very likely die in prison).
What the trial did do, however, is expose the best and worst in some others.
Barbara Bouchey Told Her Truth
Take Barbara Bouchey for example.
While we (and many readers) have castigated her for insisting that there was some good in the NXIVM “tech”, she maintained that stance throughout – and even after – the trial.
Her opinion wasn’t affected by all the sordid evidence and testimony that was presented concerning Raniere’s deviance and perversions.
She continued to insist that when she was Raniere’s girlfriend, there was some good and decency in him.
She didn’t go around trying to convince others of her opinion.
She just answered questions that were asked of her as openly and honestly as she always does.
She knew there would be a backlash every time she said anything positive about Raniere or his “tech”. But she did it anyway.
Barbara attended nearly [or perhaps] the entire trial – even though doing so had to interfere with her financial planning business.
Barbara was there to see that justice was done to a man that has caused her great harm.
But she was also there to tell what she believes to be the truth about Raniere and his beliefs.
I disagree with Barbara on several matters concerning NXIVM and Raniere. But I respect the fact that she doesn’t change her opinion depending on who she’s talking to.
Toni Natalie Focused On Undercutting Other Journalists & Media
Toni Natalie was also there for the entire trial. But unlike Barbara, Toni was there to accomplish several things for herself.
First and foremost, she was there to promote a podcast and a book that she and her partner, former Metroland reporter Chet Hardin, have been working on for several months (They’re supposedly still looking for someone to finance – or sponsor – the podcast).
Secondly, Toni was there to discourage people from working with others who are working on NXIVM-related projects.
Toni bad-mouthed the two directors behind the upcoming HBO docuseries about NXIVM – Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated directors Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim (Control Room, The Square, The Great Hack) – and advised others not to work with them because they were “untrustworthy”.
She even told Karim and Jehane that they would have to go through her if they wanted to talk to me – which was and is total bullshit.
She also bad-mouthed the CBC “Escaping NXIVM” podcasts that, during its first year, had focused on Sarah Edmondson’s escape from the cult. She encouraged others not to appear on future episodes of the show.
She also bad-mouthed Sarah’s upcoming book – and suggested that she would use the book to “gloss over” the period of time she was involved with NXIVM.
And to top things off, Toni made up lies about Frank Parlato: e.g., that he had threatened to release Nicole’s collateral unless she gave him the names of other DOS members. In reality, Frank advised Nicole to go to the FBI – which she did. He also turned over all the collateral he had received concerning her – and other DOS slaves – to the FBI.
Toni even told several court observers that Frank would have been arrested had he been in the courtroom on the first day that Nicole testified – a total fabrication that was proven to be such when Frank showed up in court several days later.
When Toni was confronted about these lies concerning Frank, she first denied making any such statements – and claimed the person who told me about them was lying. Later, she claimed that she had been confused about Nicole’s testimony – and misunderstood about her statements concerning Frank’s impending arrest.
And when the trial was over and the cameras were rolling in the park across from the federal courthouse, it was Toni – and not the former DOS slaves who had appeared as witnesses at Raniere’s trial – who took it upon herself to rush up to the microphones and refused to abandon them until the last camera crews started shutting down.
I’ve been in “only-one-survivor” combat with Raniere and his minions for more than 14 years – and for many of those years, I considered Toni to be a trusted ally.
But while I knew that taking Raniere (and a few others) down was just one battle that we won, Toni decided this was the time to monetize her involvement with him – and suddenly changed several aspects of her involvement with Raniere (e.g., She does not disclose that she was the top recruiters in the early days of NXIVM – a fact that we’ll be elaborating on in future posts).
Over the course of the past few months, I’ve discovered that Toni – much like Raniere – was a master at compartmentalizing.
But, unfortunately for Toni, I’ve seen this movie before – and I know that if you talk openly with everyone, the truth will come out.
And the truth here is that Toni has greatly diminished the role that she played in getting NXIVM launched – and equally exaggerated her role in taking NXIVM down.
I wish Toni and Chet the best of luck with their book and their podcast.
I just don’t know whether either of those ventures should be classified as “fiction” or “non-fiction”.