Lauren Salzman’s Sterling Defense of Keith Raniere and Nxivm in 2008 – a Lot Has Changed Since Then

Lauren Salzman, Director of Education, Nxivm

Yesterday we posted an article by Leo Helmar, entitled How A Capella Efforts of Nxivm – With Mack, Bronfman, Salzman and Raniere – Broke Into Controversy with A Cappella Leader Deke Sharon.

Helmar reported on a 2008 forum thread [available on Internet Archive] about an a capella event funded by Clare Bronfman and guided by Keith Alan Raniere which some said was used as a recruitment tool for Nxivm.

Several people, including the leader of the a capella world, Deke Sharon, called the event into question because of its Nxivm connection.

This created a rather robust forum thread consisting of some 204 comments, debating the matter. Of particular interest are those of Raniere and his supporters.

During the heat of criticism on the forum, Lauren Salzman, now convicted of racketeering and racketeering conspiracy in the Nxivm case, and a witness against Raniere at his trial, entered the fray to defend Nxivm.

I imagine she feels differently today, some 12 years later.  I am going to skip her references to the a capella event, and focus on what she was saying about Nxivm and her mentor Keith Raniere. [My comments in brackets and bold].

By Lauren Salzman

Apr 10, 2008

…. My name is Lauren Salzman, my mother is Nancy Salzman (Owner and CEO of NXIVM). I have known Keith for 10 years. He has been my friend and mentor [she forgot to mention he was her lover and promised to father a child with her] and has set a good example for me of standing up for your beliefs in the face of adversity even if it means being unpopular.

He is a humble and gentle person, always respectful of others and always seeking to find, inspire, fuel and uphold the good in all things.

My interactions with Keith over the years have contributed to my having more joy, better relationships, better business skills, an increase in my earning capacity, and a more healthy and balanced life.

[Is Lauren still having more joy, better relationships, better business skills, and increased earnings thanks to his contributions now that she has been convicted? Or has she lost everything? This is certainly a remarkable example of how a human can change her opinion about someone rather dramatically.]

Keith Raniere gives his trademark on-the-lips kiss to Lauren Salzman.

I have seen Keith be nothing but generous and giving of himself and his resources to others and over the past 10 years

[She testified at his trial differently. Perhaps he changed a lot during the following 10 years. She was with him when he was arrested/kidnapped in Mexico – and he abandoned her to deal with the Mexican Police while he hid in a  closet.]

I have seen countless individuals lie to him, steal from him, slander him and put tremendous amounts of time and energy into thwarting his attempts to make a valuable contribution to society.

[“Countless individuals?” That’s a lot of people. Stealing, slandering thwarting back in 2008?  Lauren meant this to help, but it makes Keith sound suspicious. Why are countless individuals after him? This must have stoked suspicions on the forum.]

The best explanation I can come up with is that new and different ideas are scary to people and that sometimes people do crazy things when they feel threatened. I hope humanity is not more malicious than that, but I have seen things that I seriously am in disbelief over…

[She sounds paranoid.]

For the past 8 years, I have been the acting Director of Education for Executive Success Programs. In this capacity, I have acted as a Trainer/Teacher of this model in over a dozen countries including the US, Mexico, Canada, England, Ireland, Dubai, and India.

[Lauren only named seven of the countries in which she has done Nxivm trainings. Since there were “over a dozen”, I’m curious what the others were. There had to be at least six of them for Lauren’s “over a dozen” statement to be true].

I have trained staff and helped create and implement the evaluation standards to maintain proficiency in our educators. I am a trained speaker and presenter and have lead [sic] workshops for thousands of people internationally. In my spare time, I produce and direct musical theater, a venture inspired by Keith who has devoted endless hours of time and energy to helping me train my vocalists and actors, design and construct my sets and fund my projects…

[I like the superlative: Keith spent “endless hours” helping her. It’s almost as good as “Countless individuals” against them.]

[T]he main concern on the table is what is NXIVM and what do we do.

As I see it, there are two issues I (I will speak for myself) struggle with in answering this question:

[People were wondering why Nxivm’s teachings are secret.]

#1 –Same issue as Napster [the old online music pirating program] and the reason for Intellectual Property [copyright laws] in my opinion, people steal.

It’s not secret because we don’t want others to know what we’re doing, it’s ours to distribute as we choose and we choose not to mass distribute it to the world. Most people in the entertainment industry can relate to having their stuff stolen and needing to take measures against this.

Joan Osborne gave a concert in the Albany area a few years back in which she made a public request to those present that if they liked her music ,to please purchase it,

[Lauren failed to mention that Joan Osborne’s Albany concert was a private concert for Nancy Salzman’s $250,000 birthday party]

Singer Joan Osborne delighted fans at Nancy Salzman’s birthday party. But Nancy was disappointed that her birthday gifts were not lavish enough.

and she shared her struggle and the destructive effects she was experiencing from the mass distribution of her music on the internet.  I think it’s horrible that a performer should have to pretty please ask you not to steal their stuff because it bankrupts them. Same thing here [with Nxivm tech].

#2 concern – Anything I say runs the risk of being contorted, read into, used against me and when you have clearly defined, paid, adversaries looking to disparage and create ill will against you, and set up hate sites to do it, contacting anyone you do business with and threatening disrepute and slander against them if they continue to associate with you, seeking to destroy any new business that you start, any new friendship you make, seeking to inspire fear in your neighbors, community members and in the world at large, you learn to keep to yourself and go about your business.

[Quite a statement and the gem of the article. Look at the words she used: contorted, read into, used against me, clearly defined, paid, adversaries,  disparage and create ill will against you,  set up hate sites, contact anyone you do business with, threaten disrepute, slander against them if they associate with you, destroy any new business, any new friendship, inspire fear in your neighbors, community, in the world at large, you keep to yourself and go about your business. This sounds truly paranoid – and could not be playing well to people on the forum who were interested in a capella and the role Nxivm was taking in this art form.]

Having said this, NXIVM has two objectives as I see them:

#1 – Help our participants achieve their own goals and objectives, personal or professional.

#2 – Help inspire a sense of interdependence and awareness of how we participate in and affect the world we live in – I would classify this category as Ethics and Humanity, but it’s in the vein of “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”.

[This is a Gandhi quote Lauren was quite fond of. Keith was often compared to Gandhi for their shared high ethical standards.]

Mahatma Gandhi is compared to Keith Raniere by Nxivm members.

[Now Lauren gives a good explanation of what she thinks Nxivm does for its students.]

The way we go about achieving these objectives is by helping our participants target the areas of limitation they are experiencing in achieving their goals. For example, if someone wants to be more successful in business, we seek to identify the limiting factors: sometimes these factors are emotional, like the person doesn’t have follow-through, or they are afraid of confrontation. In this case, we would seek to build follow-through or explore why confrontation is so scary for the person. They may be missing a skill set, so we might teach them how to be a better manager by building the skill sets to do so – learning to delegate effectively for example. They may have a bad temper so we help them explore their relationship with their anger so that they can be more proactive and less reactive.

This is a pretty straightforward program, but there is a systematic method for helping people overcome their limitations that Keith came up with. It is based on concepts of math and biology and we have gotten good results using this tool to help people overcome fears and become more easily able to “walk their talk” so to speak.

It is a simple method for evaluation of each person’s goals and values and very critical approach to breaking through personal roadblocks by exploring where each person’s beliefs are not consistent with cause and effect. For example, if I believe that I am entitled to a raise in salary without earning it, this would not be consistent with the reality of how to earn a pay increase so we would explore the basis for the person’s belief that something outside of reality is a strong possibility and their justification for not working to earn what they want. Simple and common defenses like “it’s not fair” are not really going to help you function effectively if your objective is to earn more money. This process is very straightforward, highly effective, not mystical in nature and a trade secret.

The other thing we do is explore how to be more humanitarian and ethical. We don’t teach people what to think, we teach people how to think and evaluate the ethics of any situation to determine how best to uphold themselves and their values, how to uphold other people and interact with them in more civilized ways allowing for personal differences and recognizing we are all part of the human team.

If you have further questions about any of this, you can contact me personally through Facebook and I’ll be happy to speak to you on an individual basis.

[Lauren was always a good recruiter.]

Please consider, the Salem Witch Trials were based on a similar type of logic as the cult accusations. If you accuse me of being in a cult, there is no possible way I could ever say I’m not and have you believe me because you can always say that I’m brainwashed. This puts me in quite a bind.

Bottom line: What does NXIVM do that is bad? What does Keith do that is bad?

In 2001, a friend of mine [Toni Zarattini, a former Nxivm member who became a whistleblower in Mexico against Nxivm because of the DOS branding] was kidnapped in Mexico and held against his will for 3 months. His kidnappers cut off the tops of both of his ears and the pinky finger off his left hand and sent it home to his family in an attempt to extort a large sum of money.


Over a decade ago, Keith ran a large corporation [Consumers’ Buyline]. He was accused of running a pyramid scheme. There were civil, not criminal, charges brought forth, and after extensive investigation, and over 20,000 witnesses to choose from, the case was dismissed because there was no proof that there was any cause for suit.

{Actually there were numerous lawsuits in various states against Raniere. One was initiated by the NYS Attorney General and it was settled with Keith agreeing to pay a $40,000 fine, with no admission of wrongdoing, but with his agreement to not operate any illegal pyramid-type schemes in the future, a rather weasel-worded document on the part of the NY AG, since no one would be permitted to operate an illegal pyramid scheme, so one does not need to sign a consent order to that effect.]

All the negative publicity was shown to be false by the judgment in court [that’s disputable; much of the bad publicity centered around members not getting paid] and there was only one line ever publicized that all the negativity was unfounded and Keith’s company was the first multi-level-marketing company to ever win in court.

[Lauren was misinformed. Consumers’ Buyline did not win in court.]

Keith spent all the money the company made in an effort to defend himself and his vision. In the end, between the legal battles and the bad press, there was nothing left of the company.

[This is odd that she admitted that Keith spent all the money on legal battles. In Raniere’s bio on his website, he touts his success at Consumers’ Buyline: “He was a millionaire by the age of 30 and worth $50 million by the age of 32.”  He was worth $50 million in 1992? Unmentioned is what he was worth by 1995 when the company was shuttered. Did he really spend $50 million on legal fees defending himself and Consumers Buyline?]

Please note that the company in question was founded by 3 individuals: Keith Raniere, Pam Cafritz and Karen Unterreiner. If you know them at all … it would be difficult to believe that they are sinister in any way.

[Now, we come to the enemy.]

Rick Ross

Rick Ross is a convicted felon. He believes that holding individuals against their will is a valid method of helping “reform” them from brainwashing. He was found responsible in a court of law of this. What right does he have to deem other’s beliefs bad and forcibly hold them against their will until they change said beliefs?

[Ross held some Scientologist he was trying to deprogram at the behest of his family briefly against his will and Scientology sued him.] 


Rick Ross has broken into a private home with the intent of burglary and pled guilty to this crime. He stole thousands of dollars of jewelry from a department store and was caught and pled guilty. He violated the terms of his probation for the above offenses. THESE ARE BAD THINGS. THEY ARE MEASURABLE THINGS.

[Ross had some criminal charges when he was a youth.]

To say Keith is creepy, shady, mal-intended is insubstantial. What has Keith done that is bad? What has NXIVM done that is bad other than to be labeled “cult” by someone paid to do so?

[Presumably, she is referring to  Ross.]

Cult is a non-descript term used to inspire fear and distrust in people who are not critical in their thinking.

NXIVM has lawsuits against Rick Ross and his co-conspirators who stole our property (violating our constitutional property rights) and slandered us all over the internet, tarnishing our reputation in the public eye.

[After 14 years and millions in legal fees, the lawsuits were dismissed against Ross et al. And, ironically, a precedent was set in the case establishing the right to publish information online in the public interest, the opposite of what Raniere intended by his lawsuit against Ross.]

We also have lawsuits against others who have stolen money and property from us and violated client confidentialities and privileges that are supposed to be upheld by our government.

[That is true: Bronfman-Raniere had some 40 lawsuits against people that Keith deemed to be his enemies.]

This does not make us a cult and to say we go after anyone who says anything negative is a huge contortion on the truth. We are willing to stand up for what is right and just. It’s the right thing to do in my opinion….

[Good thing Nxivm had Bronfman millions to use to stand up: i.e., sue],

I still subscribe to the “Be the change you wish to see in the world” mentality. Gandhi was a smart guy….!

Lauren Salzman
Director of Education



About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • No way their was any female camaraderie in DOS. Friends do not let friends groom their eyebrows like Lauren. And they don’t ask you to grow out your pubes. Red flag 1 & 2

  • Alright everyone, let me finally come clean. Another as-yet-untold story to add to this saga is: I was blackmailed into joining an a Capella group. I had to appear barefoot on stage and look earnest, even tear up at the lame-ass vocal crescendos — all against my will. it was not what I signed up for when I went to that summit.

    • In case it wasn’t clear to you all: it was debasing and humiliating. I felt like a singing piece of meat. I only hope Rick Ross can deprogram me pro bono if I mention him in my book.

  • When The Vow first aired, I found links to that a cappella thread on Reddit. I didn’t understand the full context at the time, but Shivani nailed it, below.

    I found the suspicion and rejection most interesting, their perspectives would be informative now that their suspicions have been confirmed. All the people that said no, and what their impressions were are ripe for the pickings.

  • I think I first realized this reading her testimony, but Lauren has a certain arrogance to her, or to her beliefs. Kind of a hubris. That’s not a comment on whether she is a good or bad person, it’s just an observation, and I think a lot of the women at the top of the organization were sort of similar. Like if someone comes to them with anger issues, they “work with them?” That’s what a trained therapist is for. What makes Lauren think she would know how to help someone with anger issues?

    The whole thing smacks of this kind of “we know what’s best for you better than you do” mentality. Maybe these women enjoyed walking around acting like they knew what’s best for everyone. Maybe that’s why they were drawn to the smartest man in the world. Who knows?

    • I think I agree with the premise, but not the reason for it. IMO, it was a defense mechanism. They didn’t necessarily “get it”, (because “it” was BS), and figured out ways to deal with this insecurity. Nancy, too. After all, how can you question the smartest limp dick in the world? They’d think – must be my issue, so I’ll suck it up and deal with it.

  • It is weird they buy into the line that KR had loads of enemies because he had such startlingly good new novel ideas no one had come up with before (rather than this “tech” is probably stolen from Scientology and many others).

    Rather she could have described it as – we take people who feel perfectly happy and persuade them they are full of all kinds of deficiencies whilst we take their money pretending we will improve them and give them “joy”

  • This is such an interesting parsing of her post. There are probably a dozen other posts like this in the thread from NXIVM members that invite a critical analysis and many of them were astutely picked apart at the time in the thread by Deke and others but there is obviously a lot more to say in retrospect.

    What interesting times we live in. The past is slowly revealing itself. After over 50 years of speculation that the 340 character Zodiac cipher was just gibberish or unsolvable, the great David Oranchak has decoded the message. Perhaps we are peeling back the first layer in our quest to understand the cipher that is NXIVM.

  • This helps. I always had a difficult time explaining Vanguard to others. I mean – how can you describe the smell of a rose? But now, I will simply say that Keith is just like Gandhi.

    • The smell of roses, like Keith Raniere… And Gandhi… The sentence itself is contradictory. “The smell of roses is death”.

    • He too occasionally slept with young, female virgins, platonically of course. (?) ( I wasn’t there with a magnifying glass to check for bodily fluids, nor do I give a hoot.) There is a traditionally Hindu explanation for it. Sleeping platonically with a virgin revivifies one’s spiritual “artillery.” You know, as in zippety doo dah, only non-pornographically. But let us leave the myths alone since so many of us need our good old Easter bunny types. Like that battleax, Mother Teresa, the papal Halloween witch. So let’s not talk about her, either. What a cracker.

      I no longer require any more heroes, since Frank is more than enough. He never shuts up. Who knew that all of this would take so long and be so distracting, just cleaning up after some fat turd’s 20 year blue light special?

  • Hello
    My name is Warren Saltmannequin.
    My mother is President of Nxivm where I work. She is a Prefect not a Legatus, and she is also the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler, as was announced only recently. So far as that goes, she might make an exception, for anybody who maitains a good dental practice. But let’s chew on my next paragraph now., the real meat of the nut.

    Stop your contortions of us, you dirty rats. You are all jealous felons. You are paranoid of the newt. I mean, the new.

    I have suffered so much due to contortions. Keith is not an easy mentor. I hope you all see how much Keith Raniere means after ten years, like I feel is only the beginning for my growth. Meanwhile, call me if any question about Nxivm contorts your critical thinking. I will help you hatch and release the self-imposed blinders, and you will not need anymore (sic) neighs.

    I hold many important positions in Nxivm, and you could expand yourself too, by learning your disintegrations and those contortions. Maybe someday this will prepare you for real contractions, just as Keith has been so loyally preparing me.

    My time is under demand, and I must trot now to my leased BMW and head for my mom’s bushy McMansion. I need her to wind the key in the back of my neck back up, counter-clockwise so I can continue being myself.

    But you dirty rats have got to stop lying about Keith and my mother and me. Expand your awareness with me instead, in Mexico or the U.S. or England or India or Canada, Dubai or Belfast. The Vanguard has never lost a , lost a, llosstttt ah, llllllawwsssszzzzz. Please hurry. Wind me, oh no. Wind! Wind it up! Wahhhhh

  • It’s exciting that the new/revived interest the documentaries have created recently has caused more to be unearthed. This message board for example. It must have been humiliating for them to be put in their place by a group of students. It’s chilling that they targeted them. I think it’s great they were repeatedly called out for it being highly suspicious of so called humanitarians that want to lavish freebies on wealthy students and not spend the money on more worthy causes. They tried to bulldoze their way into this community by stating that a capella could change the world. Nobody bought into this fantasy. Smart people.

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.” He also appeared in "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM, and was 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 premieres on May 22, 2022.

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Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083