I agree that it’s unsettled, and open to interpretation.
However, it’s pretty clear that there are at least two variations of the DOS brand, whether intentional, or accidental or coincidental:
Here is one of the DOS brands:
This one – used as an exhibit at trial – certainly looks like it’s got the extra “leg” added to make it say ‘AM’ as well as ‘KR.’
This is the sort of thing that I think really does merit further investigation, and that might actually shed some light on the situation if, for instance, either Mack’s pod or all the slaves branded under her supervision bore her marks as well, further indicating her unique role.
If, for instance, those of slaves in Mack’s pod had the extra “leg” to form the AM whereas others did not – leading to some understandable confusion.
We’ve seen that things were very compartmentalized in NXIVM and even in Raniere’s inner circle, which is typical of such groups or cults, so if there was a variation in brands or extra initials inserted into some of them, not everyone could be expected to know about it.
And if so, Mack and anyone in her camp would certainly want to try to sweep it under the rug.
Allison Mack’s role in the branding of other human beings treated as slaves, under the duress of “collateral” blackmail, and in the absence of proper informed consent if not actual deception, is indeed perhaps one of the most damning things.
I think that her willingness to go on the record with the New York Times Magazine as taking credit for it – that’s not just the result of being a bit tired and hungry; it’s the deliberative dedication of someone who might even kill for their guru if necessary.
[Editor’s note: There are some who believe that the brand might have been meant to spell out KARMA – which would include Keith Alan Raniere’s intitials.]
New York Magazine Had Last Mack Interview
In the New York Magazine article- Inside Nxivm, the ‘Sex Cult’ That Preached Empowerment by Vanessa Grigoriadis – Allison Mack is mentioned some 25 times. It was Mack’s last media interview and it was done in Brooklyn – at her apartment – probably some time in the fall of 2017 – some months before she was arrested in April 2018.
She was with Raniere when he was arrested in Puerto Vallarta on March 26, 2018 and arrested herself in Brooklyn on April 20, 2018.
To help us further explore whether Mack was on the brand or not – or was on some brands and not others – let us explore what Grigoriadis in her New York Times Magazine wrote about Mack.
In this interview with Grigoriadis, Mack famously takes credit for the brand. I personally have reason to suspect that she did not really create the brand – but was ordered to take credit for it by Raniere.
There is no doubt that Raniere created the actual design of the brand – with some eager support from Mack [more on that in a later post.]
Here is Grigoriadis on Mack:
When I visited Mack in her gorgeous apartment in Brooklyn — paintings by an ex-boyfriend resting against a wall, Palo Santo just burned in an incense dish — she told me this, too. With a bright smile, Mack, who came to Nxivm when she was unhappy with her TV acting career (she asked Raniere to “make her a great actress again”), explained the way DOS worked. She gestured to a beige love seat and asked if I wanted to sit down, near the tape recorders.
The woman who invited you to the group was your master, Mack said, tucking her blue-socked feet under her, or the “representation of your conscience, your higher self, your most ideal.” … Mack said that this was “about devotion” and “like any spiritual practice or religion.”
I thought about free will — did she believe in that?
She said, “You’re dedicating your life one way or another.”
Mack recruited other women and even tweeted at famous women like Emma Watson, inviting them to learn more about her techniques of female empowerment. Many women told me they improved from this scheme, and Mack agreed. “I found my spine, and I just kept solidifying my spine every time I would do something hard,” Mack said passionately. DOS was “about women coming together and pledging to one another a full-time commitment to become our most powerful and embodied selves by pushing on our greatest fears, by exposing our greatest vulnerabilities, by knowing that we would stand with each other no matter what, by holding our word, by overcoming pain.”
When the cauterized brand was introduced, it was a scary experience, like any real rite of passage, but some of them kidded around through it. Even if they cried when they were getting the brand; even if they wore surgical masks to help them with breathing in the smell of burning flesh; even if the brand was much larger than they were told it would be and looked like an ancient hieroglyph; even if they were in a state of sheer terror, they were still able to transcend the fear and cry out to one another: “Badass warrior bitches! Let’s get strong together.”
In yet another pyramid of the scheme, each master was supposed to bring in slaves, and then, to become masters, those slaves would recruit slaves of their own; an estimated 150 women ultimately joined. Some slaves called each other “sisters.” Mack told me each 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.
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. It felt “scary and pressureful,” she said. But Lauren Salzman…. 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. “So when I was 8, I created a conclusion and built a foundation of my assumptions that was faulty,” she told me. “Now that I’m 35, I can look back at that 8-year-old’s belief. And I can say, ‘Oh, that doesn’t make any sense anymore.’ ” She continued, “Boom, my belief system is upgraded.”
Belief is a tricky thing, particularly when it involves taking responsibility for the idea of branding women and being encouraged to talk to a journalist when it may not be in your self-interest to do so….
Mack was Raniere’s personal slave, according to the F.B.I. ….
Perhaps in order to please him, Mack decided to take on appealing young women as her slaves; she told me she knew she needed to “get right” with her longstanding jealousy issues with younger, more attractive women. Allegations include that late at night, she set up a slave on a walk with Raniere. He blindfolded the slave, led her to what seemed like a shack and tied her to a table, after which another person, whom she hadn’t met before, performed oral sex on her. Mack pleaded not guilty to the charges against her, but eventually people noticed that the symbol branded on the women not only included a “KR” but also seemed to have an “AM.” She may have been, then, both victim and victimizer.