By Marc Elliot
The Launch of My Tourette’s
The initial debut of the documentary My Tourette’s came out at the Cinequest Film Festival in late February of 2018. It was an exciting time for everyone involved in the project. It had been more than a three year project culminating in a film that the world could experience. The filmmaker, Alessandro Molatore, had intimately followed the lives of four people over years who decided to take the journey of trying to overcome Tourettes. Molatore did a phenomenal job capturing the uniqueness of these individuals and their personal struggles with Tourettes.
The release of the film also marked another milestone for ESP and the community. Since the inception of ESP in 1998, never before had footage been released to the public showing what happens within the ESP courses, how Rational Inquiry worked, or of Nancy working with someone, one-on-one.
There are specific scenes in the movie where Nancy does an Exploration of Meaning (EM), that breaks a stimulus-response chain for someone. For the first time in 20 years, people could begin to understand why thousands of people from around the world came to ESP courses, despite the company basically having no marketing online. Virtually the only information online was a number of articles on various publications referring to NXIVM as a cult.
Everyone in the community, including myself, could not wait to show the world this film. After the film made its tour of film festivals around the world, the goal was to find a major distributor to release the film internationally.
That never happened. Instead, the film was released on YouTube for free viewing just two weeks ago.
What happened and why did we release the film now?
Frank Report Ruins an Opportunity
Two reasons: As I said in my last post, Frank Report and a woman named Carysa Long-Cottrell.
The first one is that once the Frank Report began posting articles about DOS and the NXIVM community at large, in June of 2017, nothing was the same after that within the organization.
Regardless of the fact that we helped 11 individuals overcome severe Tourette’s, and had plans to continue to replicate these astounding results, and that we had a feature-length documentary released to film festivals around the world that showed the dramatic improvement in the lives of these sufferers, this took a backseat to the present crisis management caused by the Frank Report.
The higher priority became dealing with students being confronted by other students and trainers who left the organization and media outlets claiming NXIVM was a “sex cult.”
Even with the documentary doing great at film festivals, winning awards at the Harlem and Milan film festivals, it was not a priority to promote it.
Right before the Frank Report came out in Spring of 2017, we had recently given the green light for Tourettes candidates #12 and #13 to come to Albany. Getting the “green light” meant that they had gone through the interview process with Dr. Brandon Porter, Nancy Salzman and myself, and based on the results so far, we believed we could help these two people also overcome their Tourette’s.
Nothing was more enjoyable than for me to make that call to deliver the good news. Imagining them getting this call and knowing that with a solid likelihood we could help them live a life where they would no longer be limited by Tourettes was magical for me. I knew the pain of Tourettes and now I got to be a part of alleviating that pain for others.
However, in June of 2017, the FR articles started to come.
For Nancy, on top of running the company and helping people on a daily basis, she had to deal with an unprecedented attack on the company and community and simply couldn’t handle helping the Tourette’s Syndrome candidates.
Every month or so, I would call the candidates telling apologizing and reluctantly share that we would need to keep pushing their training back.
After NXIVM officially closed its doors in the summer of 2018, I had to make one final call to the candidates to tell them we could not help them and I didn’t know when or if we would be able to try again. I continue to feel the pain of that day.
If there is a silver lining, to this day I still speak to one of those candidates. They know we helped people and are patiently waiting for the day when we can help them.
Thus, with everything happening in the media, the courts, and our old friends attacking us, there was never a good time to release the film. Things kept getting worse.
Fast forward to the end of the trial.
At this point, no one had spoken positively about NXIVM to the public. Everyone was afraid since no one wanted to be targeted by the government, which had deemed anyone who “promoted Keith’s objectives” to be part of a racketeering criminal enterprise like La Cosa Nostra.
Additionally, no one wanted their reputation tainted by being mentioned on the Frank Report for simply sharing their positive experiences in NXIVM. Even though NXIVM wasn’t a sex cult, the mere association could and did destroy people’s careers.
Witnessing this “fake news” campaign travel across media outlets around the world, I felt I had to do something. I knew the truth. The people within the NXIVM community were some of the best people I had ever met in my life. And the NXIVM courses improved my life in a way no other education had done.
This community did more than help me beat Tourette’s. NXIVM helped me learn to improve many other aspects of my life: to be a more compassionate person to people I hated. To have a better relationship withmy dad, mom and brothers. To have less judgement towards myself. To communicate more honestly with others about how I feel. To learn how to uphold a principle I believe in. To have integrity, to be true to myself. I became vegetarian, stopped hitting the snooze button, found the courage to start a new career, and it gave me tools to learn not just to inspire people but help people beat Tourette’s.
It’s not unlike what happened in the Salem Witch trials where people were accused of being witches and at the mere fling of an accusation someone’s entire life, reputation and livelihood became tainted, then threatened.
Now, anyone even slightly associated, or known to be a supporter of NXIVM is thought to be of as less than human, or “brainwashed” in the media. Thousands upon thousands of people who had a positive experience in NXIVM, who may have only taken a single course or two, now hide in fear, worried that their employer or friends might find out they had any association –because of the hate that could ensue. No wonder so many people retroactively said they had a bad experience.
Think about it. Right now, if someone like myself was hit by a car and the headlines was “NXIVM Supporter Died in Car Crash.” Most people familiar with the NXIVM prosecution ir at least, instead of feeling sympathy, “eh, he deserved it.” I never thought I’d experience something so bad and this is coming from someone who lived with Tourette’s for 20 years. The hate I received and am still receiving for being a part of the NXIVM community for simply not becoming hateful, is more than I ever experienced living with Tourette’s.
“Who’s next?” The Rise of Characterization and Loss of Human Decency.
Inspired by Marc’s journey of beating Tourette’s Syndrome with the help of NXIVM, a group misrepresented as a sex cult in the media.
To my shock, within days my attorney received a call from a federal prosecutor on the case and threatened that if I went through with the presentation that I would be prosecuted and find myself in jail. I knew the prosecution was shady, but experiencing it firsthand is another thing. Ironically, the government is accusing NXIVM of using coercion against people, when that’s exactly what they were doing. That night was probably one of the hardest nights of my life. I knew I wasn’t doing anything wrong and these prosecutors were straight-up bullies, but I didn’t have the courage to move forward. In the end, I let fear get the best of me and I buckled to their threat. I moved out of NYC and, frankly, I felt hopeless.
That incident was a little over two years ago. Although the film was not contingent on me in any way to come out, with so much still going on against NXIVM and people going to jail, it was hard for anyone to make it a priority to get it out.
Little by little though, I started to build more courage, along with other friends who were witnessing the suppression against our community. We were able to build enough courage that we started to work to expose the injustices of this case and are continuing to do so to this day on makejusticeblind.com.
Simultaneously, I’ve also been figuring out how to finally get the movie out to the world.
So this gets me to the second reason why it came out when it did. That is partly due to Carysa, a woman in the documentary, who through working with Nancy Salzman, beat Tourette’s in a matter of four hours.