Vicente- Oxenberg Battle
There is a battle ongoing between India Oxenberg and Mark Vicente over how Vicente is portrayed in Starz’s TV four-part series, Seduced, Inside the Nxivm Cult. India is a co-producer and the main character in the documentary.
A different picture of Vicente emerges on HBO’s nine-part docuseries, The Vow, where Vicente is one of the main characters. On The Vow, Vicente is shown as a concerned and caring whistleblower, who realizes that Nxivm founder, Keith Raniere, a man he formerly admired, is criminally evil – and then bravely works with others, including myself, to take him down.
On India’s Seduced, Mark is portrayed prior to becoming a whistleblower. He is most definitely painted as an unsympathetic figure and it has caused a fairly heated controversy, most of it directed negatively at Mark, from a lot of people, many of whom are among the constantly growing legion of fans attracted to the Nxivm story.
The accusation against Mark, as depicted in Seduced, is that he manipulated India into repeatedly taking expensive Nxivm courses – and pushing her to remain close to the group – even when it was against her best interests, while, at the same time, she was prevented from rising in the company where she could have made some money.
India Benefited by Vicente’s Whistleblower Actions
Frank Report will take a closer look at this story in upcoming posts. Among other things, we will explore what role Vicente and others had in the takedown of the cult, including what they did to help India leave Nxivm and DOS, where she had become a branded slave of Allison Mack and Keith Raniere.
During the real battle – the one against Raniere – beginning in the summer of 2017, India loomed large because, though she was hostile to opponents of Raniere, her mother, Catherine Oxenberg, while trying to get India out, was working with Vicente, his wife, Bonnie Piesse, Sarah Edmondson, and myself to blow Nxivm to pieces.
India had no role in the takedown of the cult, other than being the incentive for Catherine’s maternal efforts to save her daughter. She did not leave the cult until after Raniere and Mack were arrested.
There is no doubt that had it not been for Bonnie and Mark Vicente, Catherine would not have been dragged into the fight. It was Bonnie who first told Catherine that India was branded – which is what started the chain of events that led to Catherine calling me and my exposing DOS, the cratering of the cult by that revelation, the NY Times story, the FBI investigation, the arrests, the trial, and the 120-year sentence for Keith Raniere.
For those who think Mark was not an important behind-the-scenes whistleblower, I will, in a future post, reveal his role in providing important information to the Frank Report, the New York Times, and the FBI.
He also gave Catherine support during a time when India cut off communications with her mother in favor of Raniere and Mack.
I can shed light on what happened during that initial period of the fight – the summer of 2017 – when Frank Report was the sole publication exposing DOS and Raniere – and that India was calling me a criminal in texts to her mother – for exposing Raniere and for the effect Frank Report was having on breaking up the cult.
I can shed light on the period after the FBI began its investigation and the strategic efforts taken to prevent India from getting arrested alongside Allison Mack. This was at the same time India, financed and encouraged by Clare Bronfman, was in discussions with a lawyer to sue her own mother.
India faced the real possibility of being arrested for her alleged crime of attempted sex trafficking of the DOS slave Jaye. India was described in the federal criminal information used to arrest Raniere as “co-conspirator #2.” Allison Mack was co-conspirator #1.
Mack was arrested. India was not. The reason she was not was due, in large part, to efforts made by Catherine, myself and Vicente, which I will demonstrate in a future post.
Whether India knows it or not, she owes a debt of gratitude not only to her mother, but to Bonnie Piesse, Sarah Edmondson, and Mark Vicente. And myself.
India is presently doing her best to be a trailblazer, a courageous young woman who, rather than hide in shame for her mistakes or what happened to her as a victim, is out there showing that one can make a comeback from even a colossal mistake in judgment or the most shameful or embarrassing circumstances and win respect for oneself.
Her brave stance really cannot be overestimated. Almost anyone else who was revealed in the worldwide media as a sex slave, branded and known to have given graphic and damning collateral, of which she still does now know where it is being held, would seek to hide and try to live it down. But India is trying to live it up – to get out there – and show the world how to make a comeback – revealing her mistakes, her victimization, and how one can stand up and take back your life, in your own name, without hiding or cowering.
It is a rare feat. A remarkable feat. And she is winning. Almost no one thinks of her as a played fool. Or even a weak or pathetic victim. She is now brave India Oxenberg. It is one of the best, the most epic comebacks I have ever seen.
DOS sex slave, turned victim, turned avenging heroine. Very good – but does Vicente need to be avenged?
Conflict Over How Vicente Treated India When She Was Still in Cult
In Seduced, India presents her view of the period before Vicente left Nxivm, when he was happily in Nxivm, and one of its leaders. It seems India sees Vicente as her first abuser, then Allison, and then Keith Raniere.
India now knows Keith Raniere is a monster but, prior to his arrest, she was deeply defensive of him. Vicente was the Nxivm leader in Los Angeles and her teacher in Nxivm. She claims he kept her in the cult long enough – and deeply immersed enough – to fall prey to Mack and Raniere.
Did Vicente cause this unhappy chapter in her life or was she a grown woman, an intelligent adult, who chose to be part of the Nxivm community and only later, all on her own, chose to join DOS and then experienced its horrors?
Is she infantilizing herself by claiming she was easy prey to Vicente’s manipulation? She was a woman whose family is wealthy and cultured; she is an intelligent woman herself. She entered the world of Nxivm when she was 19 and remained until she was in her mid-20s.
She was also one of the last to leave Raniere. She stayed loyal to him and Allison for months after they were arrested. At the time, she publicly claimed she was not a victim but was happy with her life.
Prior to Raniere’s arrest, India’s stepfather, Casper Van Diem told me that India’s mother, Catherine, not Raniere, was the real person who made India a victim by making her branding story public. At that time, India agreed with her stepdad. Now, she realizes that her mother helped save her.
And today, India sees herself as a victim not only of Raniere and Mack but also of Vicente.
I would have preferred not to wade into this story since I fought side by side with Vicente and India’s mother, but the issue has become public and Frank Report covers the entire Nxivm story.
There is no doubt that Vicente has been damaged by Starz’s Seduced. It is fair to take a look at whether this is justified or not.
Frank Report will have more on this story.