Top flight reporter Allison Swan for Hollywood Life copped a great, exclusive interview with Sarah Edmondson.
Edmondson, 42, recently published her memoirs of her time in Nxivm. The book is entitled Scarred The True Story of How I Escaped NXIVM, the Cult That Bound My Life’
Edmondson, of course, was a longtime Nxivm member and leader of the Vancouver Center – and, most important of all, a branded DOS slave.
She was the first source I spoke to to confirm she had been branded. That led to Frank Report’s first post on DOS and its practice of branding and blackmailing women.
Without her being a confirming source – that she had herself been branded – I could not have run with the story as soon as I did.
My initial story, published on June 5, 2017, entitled Part 1: Branded Slaves and Master Raniere; Sources: Human branding part of Raniere-inspired women’s group. led to a massive fallout for Nxivm and a number of slaves leaving DOS.
It was a twin effort – while Frank Report was openly reporting that women were being branded – Nxivm members were quietly contacting Edmondson to confirm that what I had written was true. She confirmed it was so.
The cult immediately began to crater and by Vanguard Week 2017 in late August – the number of attendees was down to 125. It had been almost 500 the year before.
Edmondson did more than merely provide me with information. She interviewed with the NY Times and allowed them to photograph her exposing her brand, which was featured in a front-page story that shocked the world and prompted the Department of Justice to begin an investigation of Raniere and others in the group.
Right from the start, Sarah told me she suspected the brand not only includes Keith Raniere’s initials but Allison Mack’s.
Swan, for Hollywood Life, renewed the theme in her recent interview.
She began by asking Edmondson the question that still haunts women who have been branded – are Allison Mack’s initials part of the brand or is it just Raniere’s?
Edmondson told Swan: “You know, we still don’t know to this day. When I start to figure it out, I saw the A.M. first, and then I saw the K.R. It was testified to in the trial that it wasn’t ever planned to be A.M., that it was just a coincidence. But I am not convinced. I know the way Keith works, nothing with him is a coincidence. He may not have disclosed to anyone in the group that he was designing it that way. But I believe he wanted to ruin Allison…. he was trying to break Allison. He would often do things to really break down your need to be liked or to have attention. He’d say things like, ‘imagine that everyone in the world hates you.’ This was the kind of thing he would do on a regular basis…. he just wanted to destroy Allison and so I think that no one else may have known that the initials were there on purpose, but I think that everything he did had a meaning…..”
Swan: “So she was truly his puppet in this?”
Sarah Edmondson: “Yes. (Allison gave an interview) and said that she came up with the branding. She said it was her idea. But that was a total lie…. In the trial, there was an audio clip played where Keith tells Allison how to do it (the branding) and teaches her to make it look like it’s a sacrifice. On the audio clip he says, ‘and have them say something like, “Master, would you brand me. It would be an honor.” So that it looks consensual.’”
Allison told New York Times Magazine writer Vanessa Grigoriadis that she came up with the branding idea.
Grigoriadis wrote, “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.”
It came out during the testimony of Lauren Salzman in the Raniere trial that Allison admitted she just made up that story for the Grigoriadis interview – that it was her idea for the branding. She was trying to deflect for Keith Raniere – to protect the varmint – and she told Lauren that she just blurted it out, Lauren testified.
It did not play out as Raniere had planned. He also took the fall – and he took it harder than Allison.
His stupid plan to get Allison to take responsibility for DOS and its branding and blackmail failed. And, in the end, Allison and Lauren abandoned him.
Perhaps Allison is still a believer in Raniere – but she denied him when she took her plea deal, during her allocution – and by so doing, avoided sex trafficking charges. She copped to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy and is awaiting a sentencing date.
While sex trafficking has a 15-year mandatory minimum, her racketeering charges come with no required minimum and a max of 20 years. While Mack could conceivably get 40 years – the max for both counts running consecutively – the sentencing guidelines suggest a sentence in the 3-5 year range.
Did Raniere plant Mack’s initials into the brand with his initials? Did Allison know?
I recall one DOS slave – whose first name begins with an “A” and last name begins with an “M” – calling me and telling me that at first she thought the very visible A-M on her brand were her own initials.
Then, when she read my report, she was aghast to learn that they were Allison’s initials and she quit DOS.
Many of the women who were branded were told by their first line slave masters that the brand had to do with earth elements.
The First Line Master knew Raniere was behind DOS – and the brand contained his initials but they lied to the women they recruited as slaves telling them if they asked that Raniere had nothing to do with DOS.
Later, these slaves learned that the filthy one’s initials are on their pubic area – and that they were placed there not by their desire to give him tribute – but by his trickery and deception.
None of the First Line seemed to know that Allison Mack’s initials were part of the brand . The inclusion of Allison’s initials in the brand could have been accidental – or, as Sarah Edmondson seems to suggest, it might have been by Keith’s design.
You have heard of Girls By Design – this would be sort of like “Brands By Design.”
It’s funny too. Keith Raniere used to ask people like Allison – “What would you do if the world hated you?”
He was right to ask it – for the world does hate Allison now – and him too. I wonder how she would answer the question now?
Keith Raniere told Grigoriadis for the Times Magazine – the last media interview he ever gave – given probably in December 2017 or January 2018 – just a few months before he was arrested.
“It’s quite a point in life for me,” he said, his eyes somewhat lost behind his glasses. “I question my values, how I conduct myself, all of these things.” He later added, “I don’t think I’m seen as the person I think I am, and I also want to be the person that I think I am.”
Well said, my Vanguard.
Below are three pictures the NY Times Magazine took of our wondrous Vanguard – in or around January or February 2018 – just weeks before he was arrested.
Grigoriadis from the NY Times asked him where he got his clothes, “…which require money to buy. He answered that they usually appeared. Pointing to the polo shirt he was wearing, he said, ‘until I put this on this morning, I don’t think I’d worn it before, and I didn’t know about it.’”
Happily for Vanguard his luck has continued. At the Metropolitan Detention Center where he now resides, his clothes just appear also.
[Ed. note: Next, we will have a report on everybody’s favorite DOS leader Nicki Clyne and it won’t be pretty. Stay tuned.]