Bill Maher Compares Keith Raniere and Donald Trump

Bill Maher, an American comedian, political commentator, and television host, posted on, on November 20, 2020, a monologue with some videos to illustrate his points comparing Keith Raniere and Donald Trump.

Among the videos are endorsements for Vanguard by three women who also were convicted of felonies. One of them, Clare Bronfman, is in prison already with 79 months to go on her 81-month sentence – and the other two, mother and daughter Nancy and Lauren Salzman, are currently awaiting sentencing.

Before we get into the Maher monologue, let us take a moment to consider how poignant are these statements about Keith by his three convicted followers:

CLARE BRONFMAN: Has your being a part of my life, enhanced my life? I don’t have words to tell you how much it has.

LAUREN SALZMAN: And a heartfelt tribute to Vanguard. You make it possible for us to grow ourselves every day into the people that we want to be.

NANCY SALZMAN: A very amazing man in many, many, many ways.

Certainly, these statements have to be explored in their fullness. Clare, for instance, is now living in prison. Her life has drastically changed – and one wonders if she still feels it has been enhanced.

Lauren spent days on the witness stand describing a brutal monster named Keith Raniere.

And Nancy, his partner for 20 years, what does she think of this amazing man, as he sits in prison and she awaits sentencing?

Without further ado, here is the video, followed by a transcription of the monologue.

BILL MAHER: Well, recently there’s been another large group of people who had a great disappointment and will not accept their loss. And the challenge, for us, is how do you get people out of a cult, especially when every time you present evidence of what is obvious reality, They take it as proof of you being in a conspiracy to destroy them?

And for the answer to that question, we must turn to – and I’m sure many of you have already guessed who I’m going to say now – Catherine Oxenberg.

Yes, Catherine Oxenberg, actress, star of Dynasty, European royalty, and “the lady in front of you at Whole Foods”.

Catherine Oxenberg, because she got somebody out of a cult, and I know about 70 million other Americans I’d like her to talk to.

Now, if you don’t know what I’m referring to, Catherine Oxenberg was recently featured in not one, but two documentaries about a cult called Nxivm that brainwashed her daughter, India. Nxivm was led by a conman, now serving 120 years, named Keith Raniere, a.k.a. Vanguard – was the name he gave himself – Vanguard.

And as I was watching this documentary, I couldn’t stop thinking that Raniere, I mean, Vanguard, reminded me of someone but I couldn’t put my finger on who.

For example, like most cult leaders, Vanguard had an extraordinary need to be surrounded by ass lickers, telling him how great he was,


CLARE BRONFMAN: Has your being a part of my life, enhanced my life? I don’t have words to tell you how much it has.

LAUREN SALZMAN: And a heartfelt tribute to Vanguard. You make it possible for us to grow ourselves every day into the people that we want to be.

NANCY SALZMAN: A very amazing man in many, many, many ways.

Back to Maher

BILL MAHER: Uhm. Who did that remind me of?


MIKE PENCE: I know that I’ve ever been more proud to be standing next to you.

WOMAN: Thank you, President Trump, for allowing us to have you as our president.

MAN: You’re living up to every everything I thought you would. You’re one heck of a leader.

BILL MAHER: Oh, yeah, that guy. That’s right. The one who is also always bragging about what a genius he is.

TRUMP: But I’m smarter than, I’m smarter than anybody. I’m a very stable genius, Donald Trump’s very, very large a brain.

BILL MAHER: Well, get this: “Vanguard’s” followers believed he was the demonstrably single smartest person in the world. Because he told them. he told them he spoke in full sentences when he was one. And also that he invented his own math, just like Dr. William Miller.

And both Trump’s and Vanguard’s status as cult leader sprang from their creation myths as “off the charts business savants” when in reality, Vanguard’s Consumer Byline business was a pyramid scheme shut down by the state of New York. And about as successful as the three casinos Trump drove into bankruptcy in the 90s.

Oh, and they both started fake schools.

And then there’s the fact that both men were such unrepentant sex creeps, that they literally could not stop themselves from bragging about it.


KEITH RANIERE: If we conquer a woman, if we grab the thing we want to fuck – whatever it is – and fuck it, and if we do whatever we want, and they like it.

TRUMP: When you are a star, they let you do it. You can do anything, whenever you want. Grab them by the pussy.

BILL MAHER: Yeah, you didn’t notice that. Okay. It seemed rather parallel to me – and like all cult leaders, they had to have that one queen bee around them who they deputized to recruit others into their sick games.

Vanguard had Smallville actress Allison Mack.

Trump has Lindsey Graham.

And you know when you’re fighting a cult, you’re not just fighting the leaders, but all the enablers who see you as an enemy. Truth is a threat to them. That’s why what Catherine Oxenberg did was so instructive. You’ve heard the phrase ‘Hate the sin, love the sinner’. Well, she practiced ‘Hate the cult, love the cultist’. She didn’t scream at her daughter “that she was stupid”. She didn’t cut her off. She just kept trying to remind her of who she used to be. I think we need to try that on QAnon.

You know, the ones who believe that rich liberals are running a massive pedophile ring. And eat babies, and in some cases are really lizard people wearing a human mask. And they were assured that Trump was going to win reelection as Dr. Miller’s followers were that the world was going to end in 1844.

They were told to trust the plan that Trump would get a second term devoted to busting the democratic sex trafficking ring. But now, on message boards, we can see, they have doubt and despondency. One of them wrote, “My faith is shaken. I followed the plan. Trump lost What now?”

What now? opportunity to lift the scales from their eyes. But it’s not going to happen from mocking them, or calling them stupid, or making smart remarks. Like “if Camilla Harris really is a lizard person. Why didn’t she eat that fly on Mike Pence’s head?”

Don’t do that. I’m saying don’t do that. No, really. One more and then don’t do it.

Rather if you have Trump relatives over for Thanksgiving, understand they have been through a traumatic event. Their savior their strongest, smartest, manliest hunk of a leader who ever lived, just got his ass kicked by the 2000-year-old man.

So, don’t gloat. Don’t even try to argue because arguing with cult people only makes it worse.

CATHERINE OXENBERG: If there’s hope. It’s not in any of the words that were communicated. It’s in here.

BILL MAHER: And so it is for me, to all of you in the audience. Thank you so much You put up with so much just to be here.

About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • Every crime that Trump was accused of was actually committed by Joe Biden!’

    It is called projection,

  • Alarming to imagine that there are those that hadn’t yet heard of Bertholt Brecht. But anyway, here’s some more -equally relevant IMO.

    “If we could learn to look instead of gawking,
    We’d see the horror in the heart of farce,
    If only we could act instead of talking,
    We wouldn’t always end up on our arse.
    This was the thing that nearly had us mastered;
    Don’t yet rejoice in his defeat, you men!
    Although the world stood up and stopped the bastard,
    The bitch that bore him is in heat again.”

    Bertolt Brecht, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui

  • All 3 of these women have positive things to say about Reniere. That is worth taking a look at deeper. Thanks for this info

  • Re “Trump made a Jew his treasurer and Trump’s daughter is married to a devout Jew”.

    Trump’s daughter Ivanka has converted to Judaism, so she is Jewish herself. Just to make this clear. And her children are Jewish, too.

    • No evidence of election fraud has been found despite the increasingly frantic efforts of people who want to believe in it. Democracy is still working in the US. Trump lost the election according to probably the most stringent checking of the process in history. Nobody, absolutely nobody, has found ANY evidence of vote rigging. NONE.

    • Shadow, Biden is Photoshopped into a picture of the 100,000 Americans who died needlessly because they listened to Trump saying they don’t need to wear masks to protect themselves from a hoax.
      Crying Out Loud

  • How sad we are-

    Believing that Scientists, Scholars, Historians, Economists, and Journalists have dedicated their entire lives to deceiving Americans, while only one man is our beacon of truth and honesty.

    Is Donald Trump Jesus Christ?

    • Trump is the Man with None.

      “How Fortunate The Man With None”

      You saw sagacious Solomon
      You know what came of him
      To him complexities seemed plain
      He cursed the hour that gave birth to him
      And saw that everything was vain
      How great and wise was Solomon
      The world however didn’t wait
      But soon observed what followed on
      It’s wisdom that had brought him to this state
      How fortunate the man with none
      How fortunate the man with none

      You saw courageous Caesar next
      You know what he became
      They deified him in his life
      Then had him murdered just the same
      And as they raised the fatal knife
      How loud he cried: you too, my son
      The world however didn’t wait
      But soon observed what followed on
      It’s courage that had brought him to that state
      How fortunate the man with none
      How fortunate the man with none

      You heard of honest Socrates
      The man who never lied
      They weren’t so grateful as you’d think
      Instead the rulers fixed to have him tried
      And handed him the poisoned drink
      How honest was the people’s noble son
      The world however didn’t wait
      But soon observed what followed on
      It’s honesty that brought him to that state
      How fortunate the man with none
      How fortunate the man with none

      Here you can see respectable folk
      Keeping to God’s own laws
      So far he hasn’t taken heed
      You who sit safe and warm indoors
      Help to relieve our bitter need
      How virtuously we had begun
      The world however didn’t wait
      But soon observed what followed on
      It’s fear of God that brought us to that state
      How fortunate the man with none
      How fortunate the man with none

      – Berthold Brecht, from ‘Mother Courage.’

      • Thanks you for sharing the quote. I sincerely appreciate it.

        I don’t a agree with your usage 😉 however I did enjoy the read. I read it three times. I was complete unfamiliar with the writer.

    • Scientists – Those who receive the most funding get the biggest voice. Left wing narrative, that ignores other scientists. Find out which lobby groups, funders and special interests fund the biggest “studies”.

      Scholars – Left wing “scholars” that spin false narratives.

      Historians – Left wing “historians” who ignore history they don’t like, especially history that does not make colored people look nice.

      Economists – Only economists that are pro-globalist and spin left wing narratives are listened to be the “woke” zombies.

      Journalists – They are NOT journalists. Journalism should be like telling the weather. Just non-biased facts. The mainstream press are all extremist lefties, run by jews that spin the narrative “straight white males” are evil, everyone else is good and a victim of said straight white males. They shit-stir, cause trouble, brainwash, indoctrinate and create toxic emotional responses from their liberal zombie consumers.

      The left and the jews also HATE Jesus Christ.

      • Is it true, as you say, that Jews run the mainstream media?

        Do you mean various Jews own the majority of the big media corporations, enough to control the national narrative? And that it takes on a certain direction because they are Jewish? Or do you mean that the majority of editors and writers are Jewish? Or both?

        It seems you have a disdain for Jewish people. Is it because you feel they have some collective agreement as Jews to destroy the values you hold dear? Or is it racism or anti-Semitism, or a kind of emotion that drives a person to hate all members of a certain group of people, regardless of who they are?

        I am not insulting you. I want to know what your view is. I don’t share any hostile feelings towards Jews. In fact, wherever I have seen a common trait that I could identity as Jewish among people I know, I have found myself admiring that very much. Not to be stereotyping, but when I found people who identified with being Jewish, almost without exception, I found them to be intelligent, amusing, witty, honest, people who keep their word, serious about matters of importance, but not too serious, good to their families, fair with their friends, not malicious, rational, and warm hearted.

        In your many comments on this website, besides your criticism of Jews, you often deride Blacks, Muslims, Asians and anyone who is not White. I usually delete them. This time, I thought I would ask, what is your evidence of Jews controlling the media, in a nefarious way, and what is their motive?

        • Unlike the Jews, we hear similar voices. It seems like a general text to me. It’s like someone made it up and the others are spreading it.

          There are indeed some outstanding talents in the media who are Jewish, but it can also be said that there are people of Jewish origin in other fields who have put something on the table and deserve recognition.

          But I could also mention Russians as examples who excel in the art field, or representatives of many nations in different segments of science. Perhaps the religious root is the envy that some people have about Jews, they feel.

          Everyone wants to be at the top of the food chain, but it’s only given to the privileged few. That’s why you don’t have to be jealous. All people are valuable, but not everyone can be a quarterback. Let’s admit, there’s a reason there’s a chosen people, according to the Bible.

          I’m not Jewish before someone asks, but I respect them. And let’s not forget how much suffering, injustice, tragedy they’ve had to go through just because they’re different, different from white blue eyes.

          • Re “Let’s admit, there’s a reason there’s a chosen people, according to the Bible.”

            The answer is no, because it is untrue.

      • —The left and the jews also HATE Jesus Christ.

        Well I am a Republican and no practicing Catholic. I am German, Russian, Irish and Scottish. So wrong on both accounts.

        I am not a Jew or a Liberal. God had Jesus die for our sins. So if you believe the Jews not Pontius Pilate killed Jesus; the Jews were following God’s script. If the Jews didn’t kill Jesus we wouldn’t be able to look forward to the Rapture.

        I am not religious, but I do find the Bible has an incredible number of fun stories, tall tales, a bucket full of proverbs and a boat full of idioms.

        BTW: The SCUM that run Amway, who STOLE 8 years of your life are born-again-Christians. Maybe you need to recalibrate your anger and gunsights.

        • Jews demanded Jesus Christ be killed. Pilate kept asking the jews over and over again what they wanted him to do with the arrested Jesus Christ. Again and again, the jews shouted “KILL HIM”.

          You sound like a Republican who “luvs israel 4eva”.

          If people don’t want to do their own research away from the mainstream narrative, that is their problem.

          • —You sound like a Republican who “luvs israel 4eva”.

            So true.

            BTW: Libtards like the “squad” hate Jews.

            Jesus Christ teachings do not back up your assertions of hate. Jesus forgave Judas.

            You did not address, “God had Jesus Christ die for our sins.”

            I wonder why.

            Trump made a Jew his treasurer and Trump’s daughter is married to a devout Jew.

  • Re “Genius and Big Brains:”

    Even if there is somebody smarter than you, you should still make your own choices based on your own best judgement.

    Never follow any kind of a leader.

    It never ends well.

  • Great message!

    I’m bored and have a no life. 🙂
    Here is a limerick for our precocious tot.

    “Bangkok’s Bankrupt End”
    Once a rich randy named Bangkok,
    loved lady Lauren’s dirty stank socks
    Our dandy pay a tithe,
    to take a whiff or sniff
    Poor lad choked his rooster till dead-broke

  • Why on earth give credence to someone whose production company is called KID LOVE and is a proud member of the RED SHOE CLUB

    disgusting really…

  • pasting my comment that I posted on another site….

    Raniere, Trump and the ‘Reality Distortion Field’

    Bill Maher’s piece about Raniere and Donald Trump on HBO on Friday got me thinking. I remember reading Steve Jobs’ biography….The term “reality distortion field” was used to describe Jobs’ charisma while working on the original Macintosh. His biographer defined it as the ability of Jobs to convince himself, and others around him, to believe almost anything with a mix of charm, charisma, bravado, hyperbole, marketing, and persistence. Similarly, fraudster Elizabeth Holmes, of the blood startup company Theranos, who modeled herself in many ways after Jobs, generated a “R.D.F.” around her.

    Raniere and Trump generated “reality distortion fields” around them. Both inflated their records. Both came from major business failures in the 80s and 90s, and yet they were able to re-invent themselves with self-appointed titles like “greatest” or “smartest.” At least on on the surface, Trump’s extraordinary and enduring appeal does have similarities to what makes cult leaders like Keith Raniere alluring: demands for absolute loyalty, supreme confidence, a grandiose nature, a complex web of simplistic “alternative” facts and a penchant for sowing fear. This describes a lot of cult leaders and any number of narcissistic dictatorial politicians. Both groups think they are deities exempt from the law.

    It’s not just personality though, it’s also tactics like insulting opponents, deflecting, distracting, confusing, trying to disorient and ultimately coerce followers. There’s even some direct overlap between Trump and Raniere: As we saw in “The Vow” episode 5, NXIVM’s short-lived media company, The Knife, put a representative on Fox News. He called out “fake news.”

    There’s a quote from Michael Cohen, the president’s convicted lawyer and fixer, who concluded that he’d been under some sort of spell: “…so mesmerized by Donald Trump that I was willing to do things for him that I knew were absolutely wrong.” George Conway described his wife Kellyanne Conway as a member of a cult. Trump creates this effect by bullying, insulting, joking, threatening and rewarding. He creates an in-crowd people want to join. Similarly, Raniere and ESP did this through a process of love-bombing and then devaluing people.

    Reactions of Raniere loyalists, like Nikki Clyne’s avoidance of factual evidence of Raniere’s crimes and malfeasance, are startlingly similar to what is happening with GOP Senators right now. It’s amazing what people are willing to overlook. I think of how (according to India O. and others) Keith Raniere used to use the N-word in reference Michelle Hatchette — and yet she still defends him to this day. (Hatchette said a while ago that she would produce a statement addressing his use of the N-word, but it never materialized.) Both Raniere and Trump used manipulative skills allowing them to control the behavior of seemingly independent thinkers; both defend themselves by aggressively accusing their accusers.

    To be fair, there are differences between the two. Cult leaders strive above all to bring more people in, to capture lost or damaged souls and expand their operations. Trump, by contrast, relishes division and he seeks only to win for himself. Yes, he craves the adulation of his followers, but unlike real cult leaders, he made strikingly little effort to expand that base, let alone to govern for all Americans.

    As author Bruno Maçães noted, the main binary in American politics now may not be between left and right, but between fiction and reality. My hope is that, like with the Raniere trial, at some point, fictions will be revealed as no more than fictions, and they get switched off.

    • “Truth is what I believe.”

      That is exactly the position of many people.

      Some of us have to work within the constraints of the demonstrably factual.

      For the sake of safety.

      If someone declares that Penicillin is a hoax, I will still prescribe it because of the body of factual evidence that supports its efficacy.

      Facts matter.

      Beliefs not so much.

      Shadowstate believes that the election was rigged, in the face of the fact that it wasn’t.

      Belief has to accepted as a completely subjective substitute for fact in many cases.

      I don’t BELIEVE that Penicillin works.

      I KNOW it does.

    • Jobs actually produced two hugely profitable companies, one of which is the highest valued company in the world (I believe). When Apple fired him, they went down the toilet. When they rehired him, he reinvigorated them on the path that they have been for over a decade now. He’s nowhere near the likes of fraudsters Holmes, Raniere, and possibly Trump.

  • Frank is friends with Roger Stone. He was not bashing Trump supporters.

    His point is we should try to understand one another, no matter what group you or someone else belongs to, and not attack one another with ad hominem.

    Hate the sin and love the sinner.

    • People should also realize that it’s OK to laugh at people in the public eye. I don’t find Bill Maher funny, but I do think that satire is an important adjunct to political debate.

  • The American people have not had a good choice for President in a long time. They all have had a stink to them like the bottom of a deep swamp.
    The mainstream media would never compare Bidens payoff of his son Hunter who filter to daddy in comparison to the Vanguard, will they? He’ll no, just pick on the orange man. He’s the easy target

    • I don’t think the US has had a *President* for quite a while. JFK was probably the last one who enjoyed the intended full powers of the office.

      He launched the Moon project. These days they couldn’t launch a canoe.

      The powers of the ‘President’ have been drastically reduced over the years.

      Who killed JFK?


      • The “full powers of the office” included JFK f*cking anything that could spread her legs, just like Raniere. LOL

        Trump re-launched the space program, using private partnerships – they just took astronauts to the space station, first human American launch since Barry shut down the shuttle program. LOL

        I didn’t kill JFK, I was four years old at the time. LOL

      • What good is it if you have a canoe, but no money for life jackets or paddles. Where are the paddles from nxivm/DOS? Can one buy them cheap or auction them?

  • A little off topic, but there is a scene in The Vow, where Keith and Sarah Bronfman are walking down the road, after having left the Dali Lama. Keith pontificates about how he would like to instruct the Dali Lama about how to solve his problems but Sarah is distracted and emotionally distant. It seemed strange because they presumably just convinced his holiness to come to Albany, and I would have thought they’d be ‘high-fiving” and excited.

    Do you think Sarah witnessed something during the meeting that might have caused a “penny drop” moment about Keith and do you think that might have something to do with her beginning to distance herself from Nxivm?

  • I would compare the sexual harasser Bill Maher to Harvey Weinstein and Bill Clinton

    Bill Maher Accused of Sexual Harassment by Rose McGowan
    Matthew Trzcinski MORE ARTICLES
    May 12, 2020

    Bill Maher has been on television for many years. He’s had his fair share of controversies. His latest is an allegation levied against him by Rose McGowan.

    In the 1990s, McGowan went on Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher. She says Maher behaved inappropriately toward her. It’s unclear if McGowan made this allegation public in response to Maher’s reaction to the sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden.

    Bill Maher defends Joe Biden from a sexual assault allegation
    First, some background. According to Forbes, Tara Reade, a former Biden staffer, accused Biden of inappropriately touching her neck when she worked for him in 1993. On March 25, 2020, Reade then accused Biden of sexually assaulting her when she worked for him. She said she didn’t initially come forward with the accusation of sexual assault because she feared the fall-out. The allegation drew predictably polarized responses.

    Bill Maher is a hypocrite and scumbag.

    • When the Trump Channel comes online, everyone will be safe from pussy-grabbers and gropers. It will be unbiased, and firmly rooted in a deep and unstinting respect of women. Just like Donald.

      • Wall Street poured over 300 million dollars into Biden’s campaign in October alone.

        Biden’s transition team is packed with Wall Street and Big Tech robber barons.

        Biden will find a way to throw all the Bernie Bros under the bus.

        Biden’s foreign policy team of Blinken at State and Michelle Flornoy at Defense will provoke chaos in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

        At home, America will become a repressive Big Brother State.

        Enjoy Joe and the Frisco Ho’s shit show.

    • The accusations against Maher and Biden may be true, and clearly, Shadow believes them.

      But I wonder if he believes any of the two dozen accusations against Trump are true? Was the pussy-grabbing just lockerroom talk? Were the two $130,000 payments to keep his affairs secret really just to help out struggling working girls?

      Why has Shadow been silent about Trump but vocal about libtards?

      • Deepstate:

        Fact: Have you ever watched Tiger King? People pay big money to pet pussy, cats like Tigers.

        Shadow hates socialists and communists.

        The National Socialist Party……The jury is out.

    • ….And Bill O’Reilly, Matt Lauer, Roger Ailes, and Charlie Rose….


      Libtards and our fellow conservatives have a few bad apples. It’s men not ideology.

      On the topic of Bill Maher or Harvey Weinstein: If a man resembles a bowel- movement chances are their a rapist.

  • Trump is fully aware that he lost the election, and that his spurious legal challenges will come to nothing, but his goal is to keep his support base onside and fired up for later use. They will be useful for the future of the Trump family, even though his day is done.

  • Frank, inquiring minds want to know how much joy Keith and Clare have whilst in their cages? Would you say they are winning ?

  • Frank,

    I understand……
    …..The time has come to stop the bashing of the Nxivm 5 and all the other former members. The battle is over and the healing should begin.

    I completely understand why you posted the Bill Maher clip.

  • I think Roger Stone was right to start framing the narrative of Nxvim and Biden. Nxvim was much more related to Democrats than Republicans. But, of course, the media will try to present it differently. These are the times we need to resist and present things as they are. We will not be manipulated anymore

    • Stone’s effort to link or “frame” Biden with NXIVM — most recently Stone claims Biden will pardon Raniere once certified as President — is bizarre considering that Stone himself joined NXIVM, paid for and took NX courses, and, together with Steve Pigeon (aided by Kristin Keeffe), recruited Frank Parlato to serve as NXIVM’s “publicist.”

      Frank’s first directive (from Keith) was to destroy NX “enemies” and garner support (Bronfman & Salinas $$$$$$ backing) specifically for Donald Trump’s candidacy as President.

      Raniere appeared to bet on the wrong horse putting the support behind Hilary Clinton, instead.

      Stone claimed that NXIVM just didn’t know how to work political clout by favoring both parties but, oh, yes they did. And do.

      Biden, however, was and is not part of any of it and, I believe, he and Harris will, must damp down the corruption in their own party while Trump & the likes of Stone have redefined “corruption” in theirs to a new, all-time low save, maybe, the third Reich.

        • Yes, Trump as Pres. was just a gleam in Stone’s eye, those days — when Trump was still one of those demonic Democrats — up until 2009, when Trump’s fake Obama “birther” attack was catching on with all those gun-toting, racist, Republican rednecks that now comprise the greatest threat to Democracy since Hitler.

          But, as you suggest, Frank, Stone may have had no such ambition a decade ago but joined NXIVM and, later, with Steve Pigeon recruited your consulting services for NXIVM purely out of their respect and enthusiasm for Keith’s teachings.

          Please pardon my leap to judgment, however, I do believe you had a very similar view at one time and suggested to me and my ex, producer Jeff Apple, that Stone only joined NXIVM for that reason and “mooched on” (your quote) when Raniere & Salzman, who controlled the Bronfman sister’s money, wouldn’t go for it.

          • Heidi, I did not understand that last paragraph at all. I disagree with the second to last paragraph. Neither Stone nor Pigeon were enthused about Keith’s teachings.

          • Why do you think Stone joined NXIVM if not for Bronfman campaign donations as you once told us? You told me and Jeff that when he didn’t get the $$$$ Stone moved on, making a pun of it saying he “moooched” on, meaning moved on. Jeff didn’t get your ‘mooched on’ pun at first, either, if that jars your memory, Frank. Jeff had insulted Roger Stone over his Trump campaign fundraising and promotions, remember? You were explaining how you came into your NXIVM consulting role through Stone and Pigeon.

            …If memory serves my poor, little confused head.

          • As I recall it – Stone wanted Raniere [Bronfman] to donate some heavy money to Republicans to get their attention. He also told Raniere that you can’t buy indictments.
            I used the term “mooch along” in place of moved along — just as a joke. I sometimes use it about myself, as a joke.

        • While he wasn’t running at that time, Stone still had aspirations.

          “1998–99: Stone helps Trump lay the groundwork for his first presidential bid

          Trump had been toying with the idea of running for president for more than a decade, but in 1998 he decided to take some concrete steps. The first: asking Stone to find “the most eminent hack writer in America” to ghostwrite a book for him.”

  • This video does a great job of describing how criticism should be handled: While I don’t agree with everything they say, their ability to accept criticism properly and change their minds when presented with clear evidence should be learned by others commenting here, if they desire to act like adults – only then can real progress be made. LOL

  • The full 9 minute monologue is both hilarious and instructive. Bill Maher has a biting wit, he’s insightful and doesn’t give a f*ck who he offends.

    He starts off talking about William Miller, the 19th century American preacher who built a cult following prophesying that the world would end on October 22, 1844.

    The world did not end on October 22, 1844. Did his cult collapse? No, the cult thrives to this day. It is the Seventh Day Adventist religion.

    How can people believe such bullshit? Are they brainwashed? Victims of psychopaths with “narcissistic tendencies”, evil genius Svengalis like Raniere?

    No, lots of people believe all sorts of bullshit. Because they want to.

    Seventh Day Adventism is bullshit. So is Mormonism. All religions are cults. Christianity is a cult.

    This is why there aren’t laws against Scientology or Nxivm. Any legal definition of “cult” would include mainstream religion. They’re all pretty nutty at the core, involve magical thinking, fly in the face of obvious reality, and involve irrational devotion to leaders.

    Don’t believe me? Read the Bible. The whole thing. There’s a lot of bullshit in there.

    Bill Maher got the cult thing right. People will believe the most absurd things, and will hang onto those beliefs despite evidence, despite proof, no matter how compelling or bloody obvious. It’s part of human folly, and it’s best now and then to have a good laugh.

    And try to do better ourselves.

    • Some would say that a belief is a very poor substitute for a fact. But if the belief is based on fact, and if the person is open to new information and willing to change a belief accordingly, all is not lost. Unfortunately, some people’s beliefs are unshakeable even in the face of obvious reality. These are the fanatics that sit at the core of every religion and every political ideology.

      Those minds are proudly closed.

      • Given that the people who became the Seventh-day Adventists (note that the group that existed in 1844 was a loosely grouped movement, sometimes called the Second Great Awakening or something like that – the denomination wasn’t founded till nearly two decades later) actually studied the Bible closely after that and found they had been mistaken about what the Bible actually taught regarding that day (and their doctrines and history clearly go into that), the comment you replied to leaves a lot out.

        I’d address the commenter directly but by their obviously cemented belief that all religions are a cult they’ve revealed pretty clearly that *their* mind is “proudly closed” to any possibility of existence of the supernatural. (It makes me wonder what they’d do if confronted with some of the supernatural events that are fact to people who live in developing countries – where many have seen people killed from curses, people with supernatural strength or abilities due to bargains with spirits, etc. I know people who’ve personally witnessed these sorts of events and there is no scientific explanation that can account for them.)

  • To compare the republican party to a Cult like NXIVM, and the President to a cult leader like Rainiere, is obviously over the top. But I think Bill is doing a good job pointing out some similarities between the two. Horrible behaviour by Trump is one of them.

  • Funny. Not him, he is an idiot. But funny how much the audience is laughing (and viewers no doubt) about it, when all THEIR thinking is done by CNN and all the mainstream media. Wanna talk about cult followers? Really? I dont think you do!

  • The hypocrisy of Bill Maher, denying his lizard roots whilst he pretends to be some kind of an arbiter, regarding human customs. He eschews how he chews his own frigging Fruity Pebbles and likens the Trumpster to Flabturd Raniere, as if Bill Maher were were some grande dame falling all over himself to be tvland’s Oscar Wilde or Marcel Proust. Sit down and stare at that bowlful of soggy, fake fruity tootsie pebbles, fluorescently tinted jack rabbit turds in the snow.

    Once in awhile Maher is funny, good for an occasional whippersnapper barf job, or for a jibe set up as a zinger. Bitter absinthe? Tough scheisse

  • Frank,

    …..The time had come to stop the bashing of the Nxivm 5 and all the other former members. The battle is over and the healing should begin.
    I completely understand why you posted the Bill Maher clip.

    Nxivm is quite the hot topic at the moment.

    Frank, I love you man — Get your book out the door. Pronto!!!

    …Then again, The Vow and Seduced have second seasons. You can time the book’s release with their seasons.

    • Frank,

      My comment regarding the book’s release is not me being flippant or disrespectful.

      I just want you to strike when the iron-is-hot so your book can enjoy maximum exposure.

  • Frank, I believe the word “comedian” should be in quotes when describing Bill Maher. Even if I agreed with all of his political rants, I could never tolerate his breathtaking smugness.

  • This angers me. People having different political views than you does not mean they are part of a cult. But I am very happy Keith got some nationwide publicity on the negative side.

    • Nancy. This is exactly what Nicki Clyne and her friends argue. I implore you, consider what Trump has done to our collective ability to deal in basic reality.

    • — People having different political views than you does not mean they are part of a cult.

      This is one reason I wonder if the word cult is misleading in general. It’s too easy to apply to dismiss any group you disagree with or don’t understand. Yeah, me and my semantics.

      Frank! Thanks for the transcription. I much prefer to get info from reading than listening.

    • That’s curious, Nancy. What you’ve said about your own ‘NXIVM’ Experiences — in its CBI years — perfectly parallels Trump’s business history and practices — and that’s only one of a number of parallels that Maher *didn’t* cover.

      As Maher lighted on, both authoritarian narcissists (Raniere and Trump) deliberately built a “cult” based on a false image of corporate domination and many other grossly exaggerated superhuman feats and traits.

      Further, I dare say, some of the same “players” historically involved in NXIVM are part of the Trump cult build-up and knowingly use some of the same methods Raniere & The Salzman’s (chiefly) did to promote Trump’s image. I’ve heard exact catch phrases out of both of them and their publicists. And, yes, some are borrowed from other cult leaders they both emulate. Fucking Hitler for starters.

      Oops, there’s my bitch nerve again. It’s real, it’s here, and if it’s not a “cult of personality” it’s a full-on Hitleresk military coup all wrapped around a narcissist dictator. …At least Bill Maher gets it. 💙

    • Nancy, Bill does not say that having differing views means that they are part of a cult. He is demonstrating how narcissistic leaders can use charisma and psychological manipulation to convince people to believe in lies and bullshit, (specifically things such as the nonsense narrative spread by QAnon.)

  • That was at least kind and offered a way forward, which is the point of both resolutions.

    While Trump falls into this category, the same was true of Obama and Clinton supporters. Politics and political parties can be cults, Especially in the form of letting others think for you, and regarding opposition as a threat to ideology.

    I’m not a fan of his, but that’s good advice when it applies.

    Thankfully, Biden was a ‘hold your nose and vote’ candidate. Hopefully, there will be less of this behavior for the next 3 years.

    • Hear, hear, God Bless America. The thing to be celebrated is that your democratic system functions. I can’t believe how ridiculous the polarization has become. It’s as if the American population is longing for a single-party state over the most fair and just system in existence.

      Grit your teeth, opposition! We ALL get a chance to know how that feels. And we should ALL be very grateful for that fact.

    • —People having different political views than you does not mean they are part of a cult.

      —While Trump falls into this category, the same was true of Obama and Clinton supporters.

      Trump’s cult-like hold on the GOP and his supporters is vastly different than other administrations. What other Pres could lose by 5 million votes and 70+ electoral votes, yet claim he won and his fellow Republicans are afraid to tell him the truth,

      This may seem like hyperbole, but you both should watch PBS’s The Rise of the Nazis and then try to say Trump is someone just with “different political views” like Obama and Clinton.

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.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

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 premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

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