by Paul Serran
There’s probably never been a blog with quite the same amazing story as the Frank Report. Since I had the great opportunity to review and carefully read all the content ever published here, I now have a brand-new appreciation for the role that Frank Parlato has played in the takedown of NXIVM.
To begin with, the Frank Report was built upon what amounted to probably the greatest “crowdsourcing” effort in contemporary journalism. Once Parlato began shedding light on NXIVM’s manifold crimes, he created an unbelievable community around the blog, where scores of victims gathered to share their stories and to inform his investigative journalism with cutting-edge, up-to-the-minute information that has proved accurate in a way that is very rare to find.
It was a ‘war blog’, almost like a battle horse, taking down threats left and right. Way before the NYT and other MSM outlets entered the arena, the solo work of Frank Parlato picked up where The Albany Times and Forbes magazine left off, and ran with it very successfully. He single-handedly exposed Keith Raniere’s crimes with such success that the NXIVM community was left in tatters.
His world-exclusive revelation of the existence of DOS and the fire-branding of sex-slave women was easily one of the finest journalism moments in the early 21st century, everyone knows that — but what many don’t know (or don’t remember) is that, right from the start, Parlato always tried to have his adversaries talk to him and have their version of events featured in the blog.
Many times did Parlato invite Keith Raniere to an interview, and once he went as far as going to Albany and proposing a live debate with Keith in front of his community. Keith did not take him up on his offer. Now we know why — the “Vanguard” was guilty as sin, and only liked to ‘debate’ people that he had previously brainwashed.
It’s been almost six years since the Frank Report first started, and most of the objectives it had set originally have been accomplished. First and foremost, Parlato personally helped many, many NXIVM victims to escape retaliation from Clare Bronfman’s army of attorneys. The list of people Parlato helped includes Kristin Keefe and Keith’s son, a boy that he never acknowledged in public and lied to his followers about him being adopted.
Besides that, Parlato focused on shedding his light on the various crimes committed in the cult, from economic to sexual, going as far as to tackle disturbing (and as of yet unproven) allegations of murder. He has left no stone unturned.
When the media finally jumped on the story, NXIVM became a household name, and a myriad of news pieces, TV segments, books and documentaries were launched in an attempt to tell this incredibly moving saga to the general public. Most of these paid Parlato the respect he deserves and portrayed his efforts, recognizing how vital he was to the takedown of a criminal guru that was indulging in such barbaric practices.
Eventually, the DOJ prosecutors from the SDNY started an investigation, and charges were leveled against Keith and a handful of other co-conspirators. Everyone pleaded guilty but Keith. A long time passed between the moment they were charged to the day when judge Nicolas Garaufis sentenced Raniere to 120 years in Federal Prison.
In the meantime, a surprising fact took place: Keith decided that he needed to talk to the outside world about what he saw as injustices committed against him during his prosecutions. And he chose Frank Parlato, his strongest and fiercest adversary – but a person who did not turn him into an ‘enemy’, and a journalist who firmly believes in the rule of law and in the constitutional rights of every citizen, regardless of his criminal status.
Keith Raniere came as far as stating that Parlato is one of the few people in America today who has free speech and is not a slave to corporate entities with hidden agendas. It was a rare moment when the ‘Vanguard’ spoke the unfettered truth.
Some readers misunderstood Parlato’s move to talk with Keith and his followers and showed their lack of information by accusing him of ‘treason’ against his own cause, suggesting he had been bribed and was ‘in the pocket’ of millionaire Clare Bronfman — herself sentenced to 81 months in Federal Prison.
People who suspect Frank Parlato of doing that certainly did not pay attention to the multiple times he had reached out to Keith Raniere in search of an interview. Parlato never wanted to write about NXIVM from a one-sided perspective. Now, he has the ongoing opportunity of hearing from the opposing ‘team’, so to speak.
That is not the equivalent of caving in, or being compromised, or being a hack. On the contrary, that is the exact definition of journalism: to tell a story, you want to hear all the parties involved, to have the fullest possible image of the story you intend to write about.
Today, Frank Parlato became a known personality, with a growing filmography and an ever-growing number of invitations to appear in programs and documentaries. He has risen due to his hard, hard work, his work ethics, and his determination to do the work with the highest ethical standard in mind.
Do I care much about Raniere’s problems? Not at all. Do I think he was framed? Nope. Do I think he got what he deserved? Absolutely. But none of that changes the fact that I saw, with my own eyes, a man put the ethical mandates of his work ahead of his opinions, and perform his work in the way it’s supposed to be done. That’s rare, and that’s awesome.
30+ Frank Report Stories to understand the Takedown of NXIVM.