Bangkok: Former Coach Who Saw ‘Good’ in Nxivm Is Trying to Whitewash Cultish Behaviors

This marvelous portrait of Sir Keith Raniere should be inspiration enough to beckon his "friends' to come out of the shadow and support him. Where art the friends of Raniere? Come forward and be counted.

Bangkok evidently read the post Finally Someone from Nxivm Makes Case [Other Than Bouchey] for Good in Nxivm – Meet Lisbeth Calandrino.

Unsurprisingly, Bangkok had a few comments to offer on the topic of a businesswoman, Lisbeth Calandrino, publicly putting her name behind her belief that Nxivm had some good in it. Other than Barbara Bouchey, I don’t believe anyone has publicly proclaimed this notion –with their real name attached to it.

Let us hear what our notable commenter, Bangkok, has to say.

By Bangkok

Lisbeth is attempting a WHITEWASH here, trying to whitewash her own history and behavior.

Lisbeth claims that she never knew the dark side of Keith?

Well, what about his pyramid scam called Consumers Buyline that was shut down under pressure from the NY Attorney General for SCAMMING people in the 1990s?

Keith Raniere greets actor Eddie Albert who introduced his infomercial for Consumer Buyline, a scam company that went bust.


Keith appears in an infomercial touting his new ingenious company, Consumers’ Buyline – a scam that was later shut down through a series of lawsuits in various states by Attorneys General.

It was public knowledge and if Lisbeth truly didn’t know Keith’s history of scamming victims, she’s not the intelligent and “in the know” person she purports to be.

Most likely, Lisbeth knew about Consumers Buyline but simply didn’t care that Keith had scammed so many victims years earlier, since many cult members don’t apply basic ‘moral standards’ to their CULT LEADERS.

What else?

Lisbeth also claims that she didn’t see any cult-like activity while teaching at NXIVM, LOL, but I have proof that she did…

Just look at the SILLY CHANTING required of every student and teacher before and after every class.

Pictures of Keith Raniere hung in every classroom ever used to teach Nxivm. Every student had to chant a 12 point “mission statement” and reverently thank Keith – even when he was not present. He was referred to in class by the august title of Vanguard.

Every first-time student, as well as NXIVM veterans and teachers, are obliged to CHANT OUT LOUD various CULT SLOGANS about promising to recruit every person they possibly can to join NXIVM (akin to children being asked to sing a silly song in the 2nd grade, except these CHANTS are about honoring their precious Vanguard and Prefect).

Catherine Oxenberg confirmed this, as have many other people.

That’s a CULT TRAIT – since it’s not ‘normal’ for beginners/students to be forced to pledge their undying loyalty to an organization by promising to recruit as many people as possible. That’s cult indoctrination.

What else?

NXIVM students were required to verbally CHANT a ‘thank you’ to PREFECT and VANGUARD, which was not only SILLY SOUNDING but downright cult-like.

All students – including beginners – were required to take their shoes off, bow before those of higher rank, learn a special handshake that required the subordinate student to have his or her hand subordinate or underneath the higher-ranked student – and, of course,  read the top-secret 12 point mission statement written by the man they were taught to give tribute to – the Vanguard, Keith Raniere. BTW, the 12 point Mission Statement – which every student was required to keep top secret – for it was owned by Keith Raniere and Nancy Salzman – can now be shared with the world. Why? Because the US Government has seized it – which means that, at least for now, all of us own it. Whether the government will sell this particular seized asset has not yet been determined.

NXIVM liked to compare the act of respecting Vanguard to the act of bowing to your karate teacher at the beginning of class. However, if you attend a karate class where you briefly bow to your teacher to start the class (normal behavior), you are NOT required to CHANT a bunch of weird ‘prayers’ promising to recruit everybody you know into the class. Likewise, in a karate class, you’re not required to verbally CHANT a bunch of thank-yous to your karate teacher while praising him as though he is god on Earth, LOL.

That silly behavior is NOT equivalent to simply bowing to a karate teacher.

That’s CULT indoctrination behavior and Lisbeth was a TEACHER in that CULT environment for YEARS.

Lisbeth Calandrino was a former coach at Nxivm. She saw a lot of good in it.

Lisbeth participated in all of that CULT-LIKE BEHAVIOR yet she claims she saw nothing ‘cult-like’?

Yeah, sure.

Frank, I challenge you to explain this to us.

As for Lisbeth’s lack of harem status, that’s not surprising since she was clearly “aged out” even before she started NXIVM – since Keith doesn’t like middle-aged women.




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Frank Parlato


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  • Hallelujah! Bangkok the precocious youth has matured. Great article Banger! I look forward to your next one. 😉

  • It’s really interesting to get to see the “mission statement,” which of course is referred to all the time, but I have never run across reproduced in full.

    It’s a strange mash-up of actual principles of a sort; and mere rules for students obviously crafted with NXIVM’s interests in mind, that don’t even fit in the category of “mission.” That sort of conflation goes along with the way cults re-define terms (such as NXIVM cynically does with “ethics”) in order to confuse people and get them to accept inconsistent and illogical ideologies, and to do things to support the group which compromise their own interests.

    Plus of course it stands out that the hypocritical grungy guru “Vanguard” didn’t follow his own advice – all too typically. It’s interesting to note that while “inner honesty and integrity” are cited, nothing is said about telling the truth, or not lying.

  • The truth is almost everyone in NXIVM heard about the allegations about Keith. And there were many. Whispers about child abuse. Whispers about murder. Whispers about fraud. But no one believed it because higher-ups had an excuse for everything. Stuff like “suppressives are trying to take him down”. Or “the easiest way to discredit Keith is to say the worst things about him”. But the allegations were there and most of us heard them. We just didn’t do anything because we bought into the idiotic rhetoric of the people running the courses.

    • On the previous post about this, Nutjob, who seems to be a pretty reliable source of participant perspective, wrote:

      “Most former students read shit like this and are clueless. No clue whatsoever about nefarious activity or immoral actions.”

      Could that have been the case earlier, when they and Calandrino were involved, while later on more stories started to circulate about what Raniere was up to?

      • I agree with We All Knew. Or I might change it to We All Heard Whispers. Depending on what year or decade it was, “we all knew” different things. There were not classes about it and there weren’t public discussions about it. The discussions were as We All Knew described – excuses from higher-ups that those who stayed bought into. In the beginning, there were a few whispers about “he’s banging all of them”, but other than quiet discussions on the weird rituals, that was about it.

        When I typed “No clue whatsoever about nefarious activity or immoral actions.” I was speaking in regards to classes not specifically teaching things like “it’s ok to have sex with children.” The classes lay groundwork, but to see the inner mind of the psychopath, you probably needed to be sleeping with him and really paying attention. But, he purposely didn’t sleep with women who paid attention or questioned.

        I know I’m not sounding very consistent, but I think you get where I’m coming from.

  • “That silly behavior is NOT equivalent to simply bowing to a karate teacher.

    That’s CULT indoctrination behavior and Lisbeth was a TEACHER in that CULT environment for YEARS.”

    No, Frank, that’s not “cult indoctrination”. It’s a mantram.

    Mantram definition: (courtesy of

    “Hinduism: a word or formula, as from the Veda, chanted or sung as an incantation or prayer.”

    Many religions around the world use chanting and mantrams as a form of spiritual alignment, akin to the practice of meditation, including
    1.8 billion Hindus.

    It’s an alignment method that has been practiced successfully since the “The Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali” appeared between 4,000 and 10,000 years ago.

    If you want to see cult indoctrination, study his use of sexual coercion.

  • I think that Bangkok makes a pretty good argument here. Comments on the previous post clearly demonstated that Calandrino has significantly inflated her biography – exemplifying that it can be legitimate to scrutinize such basic background facts to help assess whether or not someone is a reliable source of information – and either plays fast and loose with the truth, or is someone who has trouble even knowing what the truth is.

    The one thing I’d question, is whether anything was different in the early period when Calandrino was involved, compared to the more recent period that we know more about and from which we have hear more accounts. The NXIVM she saw then, which originally started out as ESP and at one time had indeed attracted a more professional and corporate clientele, had to have been different in some ways since organizations evolve, though maybe not significantly so. I would guess that the obeisance to Raniere came in with the switch to NXIVM – the name probably referring cryptically to Roman debt bondage slavery – circa 2003, though even if so Calandrino would have been around as such things developed; but perhaps also, as the frog-in-a-pot-of-water analogy suggests, such things were harder to notice for those who were in the midst of them.

  • I would be willing to bet a lot of former NXIVM people didn’t know about Consumers’ Buyline during the time period they were NXIVM members, just as a lot of people who joined this company weren’t aware of this MLM scam artist’s history: LOL

    Lisbeth said she attended a lot of various self-improvement programs, so the chanting, handshakes, etc., probably didn’t stand out to her as it would have to someone who was experiencing a self-improvement program for the first time. In fact, Oxenberg, Bangkok’s example of someone who confirmed this behavior and also an admitted self-improvement “freak,” was not concerned enough to remove her daughter from the program. You just shot yourself through BOTH feet, Bangkok! LOL

    Therefore, Frank doesn’t have to explain anything, I just did. LOL

    You’re really losing whatever “touch” you had, Bangkok. LOL

    Why don’t you “man-up” and debate this and any other issues on my show? Probably because you’re a “man” by plumbing orientation only. LOL

    • That’s a good point that people may not have known about CBI, particularly those involved in the early days before so many exposees were published, or critical information was widely available on the internet. We know that NXIVM was effective at both compartmentalizing information, and walling off or countering negative information, plus I think people just have a tendency to assume those who they are judging in hindsight “should have known” when, in fact, in many cases, it turns out that’s just not true.

      However, I’m not aware of other “self-improvement programs” which have those culty practices, except for the few that really are cults like Scientology where their founder, L. Ron Hubbard, is venerated. I’ve checked out quite a few myself – I’ll go to just about anything once, as an observer – and read accounts of many more. It that’s what was going on when Calandrino was in, I think Bangkok is right that it was definitely strange, and should have been a red flag.

        • Yes, actually, I have experience with all except the specific programs at Pepperdine University and SUNY New Paltz – and it’s certain that in those academic settings, there wasn’t any culty obeisance practiced.

          I really do have that sort of background in this. And because I’ve traveled in such circles, I even for instance know people who took Nancy Salzman’s Ericksonian hypnosis courses, who I’ve asked to recount what that was like.

          I respect your experience with MLMs. I was pitched Amway once, and was briefly involved with Herbalife mostly because I was interested in trying their products, but at such a low level that it was hardly an experience of an MLM, so I can’t relate to anything except a few essentials – that’s not my area of interest or knowledge.

          I do actually think there is a lot of relevant tie-in between MLMs and high control groups or cults like NXIVM, that has only really just begun to be touched on. In the big picture, for instance, they exploit many of the same cognitive biases; a quick search turns up this:

          MLM and Confirmation Bias
          “Confirmation Bias: Confirmation bias, also called confirmatory bias or myside bias, is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs or hypotheses, while giving. disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities.
          …. [7 specific points of comparison are made, and then sumarized:]
          MLMs frequently utilize confirmation bias to manipulate and deceive their distributors. They provide false analogies, unrelated information, and deceptive claims. They also go out of their way to discredit any dissenting information and opinions, and they are quick to sever ties with anyone that does not share their complete worldview.”

          Where have we heard thngs like “discredit any dissenting information” (what NXIVM did in the wake of bad press like the 2012 Times Union series) and “sever ties” (infamously done in Scientology).?

          Why do people believe things that science has proved untrue? – Cognitive Dissonance
          “The world was going to end on Dec. 21, 1954, in a flood. But the cult members had no fear. They had faith, so they would be saved — rescued by a spaceship and whisked away from God’s wrath.
          When an otherwise rational person holds an irrational belief in the face of significant evidence against it, cognitive dissonance is usually involved. How the mind facilitates this is a study in self-preservation, and it typically involves a mental tendency known as confirmation bias.

          When there was no flood, no spaceship, no death and destruction, the cult members were faced with two possible “facts.” Option No. 1: They were wrong to believe. Option No. 2: They were right to believe, because their faith stopped the flood.

          In fact, for the most sincere believers, option No. 1 probably didn’t enter the picture. And if it did, they probably would have immediately forgotten it.”

          (this was actually the origin of Leon Festinger’s famous theory of cognitive dissonance, when so many of the followers of that cult chose option No. 2, to continue to believe a theory that they had actually been right)

          • It’s not that complicated. They lie to steal your money. It’s as simple as that. No need to use all those fancy psycho-babble words and processes. Jeesh!

          • No, it is not that complicated. Anonyfaker loves to listen to himself. He is probably the only one in the world he does not bore to death.

            He could probably do a 20,000 word salad comment on the smell of a fart.

    • I agree. I see businesses run by crooks going bankrupt only to spring up a few months later with a new name and a lot of people do not realise that the same crooked people are running it. Even in this day and age when things are exposed online, a lot of people are in the dark.

  • A question for a lawyer:

    Could former NXIVM students sue coaches for instruction, counseling, or other therapy that was demonstrably fraudulent, negligent or harmful?

    • Anybody can sue anybody else for any reason or no reason at all. However, it would be difficult to prove the “instruction, counseling, or other therapy that was demonstrably fraudulent, negligent or harmful.”

    • “Could former NXIVM students sue coaches for instruction, counseling, or other therapy that was demonstrably fraudulent, negligent or harmful?”

      Attorney Omar Rosales of Austin Texas has sued Sara Bronfman for her financial support of NXIVM.
      Consult with Omar.

  • This chanting and forced recitations, secret handshakes, demonstrations of subservience, ye gods and little fishes! What exactly was showing? Hell on earth. If you were willing to do that shit, it was implicit that you agreed to herded around like oxen. “Hi, I am ready for my voluntary self-hypnosis.”

  • Calandrino certainly appears to be a brainwashed zombie. She’s rather obviously one of those dependent personality types subject to easy mind manipulation and control. I’ve seen the type hundreds of times. A “searcher” who foolishly believes people need coaching and guidance in their lives. This usually is reflected in their own insecurities and disbelief in their own abilities and mental stability, despite some apparent level of success. In her case, her core success came from her family and she is uncomfortable in her own business capabilities and instead is attracted to predators like Salzman and Raniere who promise to coach her to “success”. Weak personalities with poor self esteem gravitate toward these supposed teachers with some pretend enlightenment. Calandrino is sad woman.

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.

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Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083