A new podcast, A Little Bit Culty With Sarah and Nippy, hosted by Sarah Edmondson, and her husband, Anthony ‘Nippy’ Ames, offers a series of approximately one-hour discussions with guests on the topic of “cults.”
The podcast offers to help listeners determine whether a group is potentially destructive, high control, and abusive, and could be called a cult. To my knowledge, no group ever called itself a cult.
A promotion for the series reads, “Think you might be in a cult? Want to know the signs? Join Sarah Edmondson and Anthony ‘Nippy’ Ames to talk about things that are… a little bit culty… They’re here to help people understand, heal from, and avoid abusive situations one little red flag at a time…”
Edmondson helped implode NXIVM, a group that many have called a cult, by disclosing her membership in a secret NXIVM-related sorority, DOS, to this publication, Frank Report, and later to the New York Times, which led to an FBI investigation into NXIVM and the arrest and conviction of six of its leaders.
The US Dept. of Justice accused NXIVM of being a racketeering enterprise and a jury convicted four of its members on racketeering charges.
Ames and Edmondson, who were both longtime NXIVM members, have produced seven episodes of their podcast to date. Their list of guests is a “who’s who” in the cult-busting world.
Steven Hassan, one of the nation’s best-known consultants and authors on the topic of what is a cult. He is a former member of the Unification Church, which many critics claim is a cult. He has returned, he says, to Judaism, which has been described as a dangerous group by its enemies many times in the past.
Leah Remini, the famous actress and Scientologist turned whistleblower, who achieved even greater fame by her A&E documentary series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath (2016–2019).
Mike Rinder, who served on the board of directors of the Church of Scientology International and as executive director of its Office of Special Affairs, the highest-ranking executive to defect from the Church. Rinder co-hosted Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath – and in 2020, he and Remini launched the podcast Scientology: Fair Game
Dr. Janya Lalich, author, professor emerita of sociology, and consultant to educational, mental health, business, media, and legal professionals, as well as working to provide support to members, former members, and families of members of controversial groups. Formerly a member of the Democratic Workers Party, which she called “a radical political cult.”
Douglas Brooks, a Massachusetts lawyer who has litigated on behalf of victims of allegedly fraudulent and deceptive multi-level marketing (“MLM”) schemes, including handling cases against Herbalife, Nu Skin, Omnitrition, Melaleuca, and Keith Raniere’s old MLM, Consumers Buyline.
Susan Dones, the former head of the Seattle/Tacoma NXIVM center, she left the group in 2009, along with eight other women, dubbed the NXIVM-9. For three days, she and Barbara Bouchey filmed NXIVM founder, Keith Raniere as the nine women discussed with him why they were considering leaving. After she left, NXIVM sought to intervene in her bankruptcy. She represented herself against a battery of NXIVM attorneys and prevailed in court. She was one of the early pioneers in alleging the abusive and promiscuous nature of Raniere and his top assistant, Nancy Salzman.
Here are brief descriptions of the Sarah and Nippy episodes
During her appearance on “A Little Bit Culty,” Susan Dones discusses what she thinks Keith Raniere meant when, on April 23, 2009, he said while being filmed on her camera, “I’ve had people killed for my beliefs and for theirs.”
Shortly afterward, Dones posted this film of Raniere on a private setting on YouTube and shared it with a few friends just in case Raniere meant that she was to be one of those people due to be killed for her beliefs.
Someone copied it and made it public, then others did the same. It remains online to this day.
A Point to Clear up:
During Susan Done’s deposition in her bankruptcy in 2010, NXIVM attorney Bob Crockett explained that Dones had no cause to be afraid of Raniere for what that gentle being meant when he said he had people killed for his beliefs, was that the sad death of Benjamin Le Baron was caused by his family following Raniere’s advice to not negotiate with kidnappers.
Crockett was either lying or misinformed. Raniere could not have meant Le Baron was killed because of his or Raniere’s beliefs since LeBaron was alive when Raniere said it. LeBaron died July 7, 2009, more than two months after Raniere was filmed making his “I’ve had people killed” statement.
[I reported this before Raniere was arrested.]