The Forgotten Ones did not appear in front of the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center this past Friday night – the first time in four months that they did not make at least a weekly showing.
They will dance no more.
The purpose of their dancing had been to bring attention to prison conditions throughout the USA, including the conditions at MDC, which is considered one of the most punishing, least sanitary prisons in America.
Captives there, most of whom are pretrial defendants who are presumed innocent, are confined indoors and never get sunshine or fresh air, elements known to even the most savage and uninformed individuals as necessary to human health. There is no prison yard, no outside recreation at MDC.
Men turn sallow or pale; they age quickly there – their health undermined by badly unnourishing prison food, and indoor temperatures that are either too cold or too hot. Fetid, moldy air, and vermin in the kitchens and everywhere -and the feel of slow death – the perfect ingredients for a defendant facing trial to be reduced to hopelessness and to take a plea deal even if he is innocent – knowing that the federal system is rigged against the defendant, and that almost any permanent prison is better than MDC.
The impetus for the Forgotten Ones to dance outside of MDC is that the core group were friends and supporters of one of the persons in custody there: Keith Alan Raniere, who has been at MDC since April 2018. He spent more than a year there as a presumptively innocent defendant awaiting trial. He was convicted in June 2019 and spent another year and four months awaiting sentencing. He was sentenced last month to 120 years in prison. Now he is awaiting a permanent prison assignment.
I suppose the public never took the dancers deeper cause of prison reform seriously because it was perceived that their deeper cause was only Raniere.
Frank Report broke the story of the dancers in July. And is now first to report the end of the dancing.
One of the dancers, Nicki Clyne explained on Instagram why the Forgotten Ones have ceased dancing:
By Nicki Clyne
For the past four months, our team and various supporters have united for a single purpose: to bring levity and light to the lives of those incarcerated at MDC and beyond. At the start, we hoped to spark a movement that would exist at different correctional facilities across the country, and planned on taking a back seat while families and friends with loved ones inside joined the initiative and kept it going.
Unfortunately, we were quickly met with criticism and controversy, and people made claims in the media that were damaging and untrue. Despite these attempts to deter us, we have continued to show up and let our actions speak for themselves.
As of today, we are in contact with over 50 inmates at MDC and surrounding facilities. A few have been released since we started, many have been transferred, and even more still await transfer or court dates at MDC.
Although limited visitation has started this week, the conditions have not improved, and we receive concerns on a regular basis from those in need of help. While some have families who support them, many don’t, and we are constantly moved by how small gestures can be of major significance.
Now that visitation has opened up and winter is upon us, we will be putting the dancing on hiatus until further notice. But we will continue to support as many people as we can through the winter and beyond.
Watch this page for updates and get in touch if you’d like to be involved. We want to express our love and gratitude to all the people who have supported this movement. We are inspired and humbled by all the stories and we are motivated to keep bringing attention to these issues until the rest of the world takes notice. You are not forgotten.
With love and dedication, on behalf of the Forgotten Ones,
My sources inform me that Raniere is in the SHU [special housing unit i.e. solitary confinement.] One of my sources said Raniere was placed there because of my interview with him for NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt.
After receiving a 120 year sentence, he may have been placed on suicide watch. He has not been able to communicate to anyone but his attorneys, I am told, since his sentencing.
In any event, the dancing has stopped, and Raniere may be shipped out of MDC in a day or a month to whatever permanent prison he is assigned. He may go to the supermax in Florence, Colorado, far removed from his followers, beyond the barbwire fence and into his solitary cell, as he passes days without markers or events, in solitary confinement for a thousand days for a start at a stretch.
He once commanded a bevy of slaves, lovers and followers, some with hundreds of millions they threw at him, women who waited for his call, night after night, waiting for a call from him, their Vanguard.
He no longer has contact with any of them, none can come with their eager bodies or their wealth or devotion to offer it to him again.
Up until last Friday, all he had left was to see them, the last remnants of his grotesque satiation, from his prison window, engaged in the art of dance. That too is over, one more scene of him losing, in the remarkable fall of Keith Raniere.
Wherever he goes, his future is grim. Absent a successful appeal, he will likely be in prison as the years pass and less and less people will remember, or be able or willing to dance for the Vanguard, and especially, if he goes to the supermax, as some predict. Like most who go there, he may never be heard from again.
While the Forgotten Ones, their dancing, was meant for their friend, and that their movement was sincere, as far as it went; they may, like their name, and like him, be forgotten at last.