Mark Hildreth has broken his silence. He has mentioned NXIVM on Twitter:
“A brief comment on nxivm. Over several years, I participated in what I understood to be personal and professional development seminars offered under the umbrella of the nxivm organization. I met a number of people who seemed dedicated to personal growth and improving mental health. Following legal proceedings that commenced subsequent to my time there, I learned of coercive and inhumane behaviors that had evidently been occurring in secret. I am deeply disturbed by what came to light and embarrassed by my former association with this organization. I hope that all of the survivors are able to heal and move forward from what was a horrendous betrayal of trust.”
Hildreth finally came out and made a statement at the end of 2021. He quietly left in mid-2017, at about the time Frank Report broke the story of DOS and its branding women.
Hildreth is likely referring to the trial of Raniere when he wrote, “Following legal proceedings that commenced subsequent to my time there, I learned of coercive and inhumane behaviors that had evidently been occurring in secret.”
No doubt there were revelations that he and others learned during the trial in 2019, but he might have known of some around the time he quit NXIVM. A lot of people told him.
In his defense, Hildreth did not live in Albany, so he was not in Raniere’s personal orbit much. He came on occasion for classes. He once filmed an interview with Raniere that appeared on Keith Raniere Conversations series. Hildreth’s video was removed after he quit.
Hildreth did participate in NXIVM, as he wrote. He was a proctor. He had his Orange Sash by 2011. He was a Jness senior trainer/mentor. He was coleader of The Source, Allison Mack’s and Raniere’s acting class. He was a member of Raniere’s a cappella singing group, Simply Human. He went to the NXIVM retreat at Necker Island. He joined at the same time as his then-girlfriend Kristin Kreuk, who in turn recruited Mack.
Hildreth also recruited Nicole, who he dated. His intention was not bad when he suggested Nicole attend NXIVM classes in 2013. It’s clear he thought it would help her. Hildreth even lent Nicole the money to take the class.
It was the year after the Albany Times Union came out with their series The Secrets of NXIVM, where several women accused Raniere of statutory rape – which was available online. If he told Nicole, and others, not to google Raniere, it was because Hildreth did not believe the things written about Raniere. Hildreth told Nicole the best way to go to the class was with an open mind and have no expectations. It’s better, he said, to have her own experience.
Nicole trusted Mark and so she went.
Two years later, Nicole endured an incident that made her the sex trafficking victim in the Raniere case, the woman tied down to a table blindfolded, and sexually assaulted by Camila, at Raniere’s command.
But Hildreth knew nothing about this until after it happened. He advised Nicole to get a lawyer.
At the end of the day, Hildreth should not be blamed for his silence, or his participation in NXIVM. He believed in it. He extended himself to a lot of people and recruited a few.
He made it known he was a supporter of Raniere and did a lot to try to persuade others that the bad stuff online about NXIVM and Raniere should not be believed.
He did his best to stay out of the fallout when NXIVM and Raniere imploded. Largely he did.
Hildreth is part of the NXIVM saga, in a relatively minor role. If he could, he would erase all memory of his participation in the group and his adoration of Raniere.
Mark Hildreth and others sit and listen to Keith Raniere.
Hildreth became disillusioned. His reaction was silence. He opted not to speak. Not to say a word until NXIVM was dead and buried. Now he has come out – tepidly.
I think it is true he knew of very little that was evil in NXIVM. He thought it was good. He perhaps should have been more skeptical and chased down the evidence found online about Raniere.
But he did what he believed until he could believe no more. He is the young man who found a guru and gave much of his life to him only to be disillusioned. It’s a hard thing to be disillusioned. Not only does your golden idol break, but so do all your dreams of the better world you had hoped to make, dreams and ambitions you lodged in your head on so many occasions that this man, this wondrous, joyful man, Raniere, offered hope for a new, better world, and you were part of it.
For 12 or 13 years part of every day was spent thinking about Raniere, your mentor, your teacher, the guy who really cared about you. Then one day you find it was all fraud. You got conned. Next the rascal is going to prison. You kinda lose faith in yourself. Faith in your judgment. Faith in the world. And then too NXIVM is so odious — what if others find out. Will they mistake my innocent participation with something so very devious, scandalous, criminal?
It was hard times no doubt for Hildreth. He waded into NXIVM then tried to get out, slowly, quietly, and hold his peace. But inwardly he had no peace. He was betrayed by others and he was trying hard not to betray himself. Yes it was, it was a horrendous betrayal of trust.
In a sense, Hildreth was another Raniere victim. He wasn’t branded or sexually abused. But he had many dark days and restless nights no doubt over the embarrassment of being deceived. The rascal stole years of his life. But yet, and here’s the inner conflict that so many of NXIVM members who left face — there was good in NXIVM, there were things he learned that were good and made him better, smarter.
He knew that.
And then too, belief is a thing. Hildreth believed with the faith of youth and faith makes changes for the good. Hildreth might very well be a better man because of his faith in Raniere and NXIVM. The challenge now is to reconcile the lost faith in his flawed god Raniere with the fact that he could have had such faith in what he saw as his goodness.
If he can learn not to be embarrassed and own his role – even if it meant he was deceived and not cry, or call it horrendous or a betrayal of trust — but a lesson about life, that nothing is horrendous if we face it boldly – one day he may even thank the wicked Raniere and the experience for teaching him some hard but worthy lessons of life. Like so many others who struggle with their lost faith, that the goodness he saw might have been a reflection of himself.