By Suneel Chakravorty
According to Neil Glazer, the prince of exaggeration, unsuspecting plaintiffs in the civil lawsuit were “subjected” to a horrific ‘Human Fright Experiment.’
Glazer says in the complaint: “At least forty members of the NXIVM community, trusting in Raniere, Nancy Salzman and Defendant Dr. Brandon Porter, M.D. (“Porter”), were subjected to a ‘human fright experiment,’ in which individuals were seated in front of a video display with electroencephalogram (“EEG”) electrodes placed on their skulls to measure brainwaves. These subjects believed they were going to watch a talk by Raniere, but instead were subjected to scenes of escalating violence including actual, extremely graphic footage of the brutal beheading and dismemberment of five women in Mexico.”
I believe that while some of the clips were disturbing and shocking, this is a case of extreme exaggeration. Let’s take this apart. (I’ve bolded some pertinent parts of the claim above.)
“Electrodes Placed on their Skulls”
First, Glazer says electrodes were “placed on their skulls.” Here is a skull:
Just as a point of clarity for Mr. Glazer, a lesson in anatomy: the electrodes were placed on their head, not their skull. He could have said they were attached to the skin or the hair above the skull but they weren’t attached to the skull. If he is this imprecise about obvious anatomical things, we wonder what else he is imprecise about.
He also says that in the graphic snuff film that five women were killed. It’s actually four. He got it 80% right. It’s these kinds of errors that make us suspect that our prince of exaggeration is doing this throughout the lawsuit and enough exaggeration equals a lie.
But before my carping critics tell me I am focused on minuscule things, let’s get to the heart of the matter of why Glazer is dead wrong.
Glazer’s next line is that the scenes were of “escalating violence.” But as you can see in Parlato’s post, EXCLUSIVE: Frank Report Obtains 18 Video Clips That Comprised the ‘Human Fright Experiment’ – See It Here and Judge!, it wasn’t escalating violence at all.
It was a mixture of different clips, some violent, mostly non-violent, some funny, some sentimental, some humorous, some dramatic, and, yes, some violent. They ran the gamut of human emotions, which is precisely what the study was actually supposed to do, and it included a gamut of things, including a gruesome death. That snuff film is not to be minimized in any way, yet it is similar to many video clips that are readily available.
For example, here is a video on FOX news of ISIS terrorists executing captured Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh by burning him alive:
Here is a video of US journalist James Foley being beheaded by ISIS and this was reported on CNN and elsewhere and shown to millions:
Finally, here’s George Floyd being killed by an American police officer that was shown to practically every single American.
And why was it shown? So that the American public could see in graphic detail police violence on a black man. Nobody has said that that was too graphic or too violent. Nobody has said that it shouldn’t be shown because it illustrated a point.
It showed a man actually being killed and everyone in America embraced that film. It, too, is horrifying, yet no one vomits or wretches opprobrium on CNN for showing it. Just the opposite, they are applauded, because it illustrates something.
When we want to show ISIS is bad, we show a snuff film. The film of George Floyd is a snuff film.
It is okay to show a snuff film if it supports the social outrage you want to provoke, but it’s wrong to show a snuff film when you want to study the range of human emotions? When we watch a clip that clearly shows Mexican cartels are bad and study the emotional reaction, then we’re bad?
The Origin of the Snuff Film Was Vicente
It’s a complete falsehood, by the way, that Keith Raniere was using this film to traumatize people. There is a history behind the snuff film that is important and that outsiders like Glazer either don’t know or don’t want to know. But once you hear the history of this snuff film and how it entered the community, I think you’ll understand the context and why it was chosen. It was not to indoctrinate people to violence. It was to have a teachable moment.
According to Eduardo Asunsolo, long-time business colleague and friend of Mark Vicente and fellow leader in the Society of Protectors, “Mark Vicente was actually the one who found the video clip of the beheading.”
Apparently, Mark Vicente came across the clip, perhaps in his immersive study into violence in Mexico for his documentary Encender El Corazon, the trailer of which is below.
Vicente felt understandably disturbed after watching it. He brought it to Keith to make sense of it, of how men could be so brutal. Then I’m told Keith helped Vicente imagine the same horrific event from the different perspectives of everyone involved, from the women being killed, to the men killing them, to the families, on both sides watching.
Vicente was said to have had a profound and positive experience as a result of this discussion with Raniere. It is based on that positive experience, in part, that the decision was made to include this snuff film in the study.
Before you start attacking me and saying that Raniere wanted to inculcate and habituate people to snuff films, remember that one of the plaintiffs in this lawsuit, Mark Vicente, was the one who actually brought this film into the community and he knows well that he was helped by Raniere’s teachings to digest and understand, or so he said, and if he was being honest, I’ll take him at his word.
Although most of the participants maybe hadn’t seen this particular clip before, it certainly became the subject of discussion in the community prior to the study and the purpose of these discussions was to try to build greater empathy for all of the individuals involved in the slaying, without condoning the violence.
The Big Lie in the Glazer ‘Fright’ Claim
Finally, the big Glazer lie about this so-called ‘Human Fright Experiment,’ the one I really don’t like, is that the participants were allegedly lied to and told it was going to be a lecture by Raniere. This is simply not true.
The main plaintiff having to do with the ‘Human Fright Experiment’ in the civil lawsuit is Jane Doe 19, who everyone knows is Jenn Kobelt. She told the Times Union, the CBC, and The New York Times, and she’s the one who got Porter’s license revoked. Her name is her name and I’m not playing the Jane Doe game for someone who has already announced themselves to the world.
(By the way, I’m not subject to any court orders. I’m not a defendant in this case. I can do anything I want. I haven’t lost my First Amendment rights.)
Now, let’s look at what the evidence shows.
Below is the export of a WhatsApp chat between a coordinator of the emotions study and Jane Doe 19 in the lawsuit.
After all, this was not a ‘fright’ experiment. It was an emotions study and that is how it was billed and that is how it was advertised, and the coordinator was looking for volunteers for an emotions study. Everyone knows that NXIVM is edgy, and emotions would have included the range of emotions, from love to fear, from hate to joy, and everything in between.
Here is the text exchange where Kobelt volunteers for the emotions study and refers to it as an emotions study. The name of the coordinator has been redacted and replaced with “Coordinator.”
8/2/16, 9:21 AM – Jenn Kobelt: Hey [redacted] – Sam said you need participants for an emotions study. I’m free Thursday after 3pm if you’d like me to be part of the study. Let me know if you need me
8/4/16, 3:55 PM – Jenn Kobelt: Hey – just following up on this
8/4/16, 4:20 PM – Coordinator: Hey thanks, sorry I’m trying to get new dates added,
8/4/16, 4:20 PM – Coordinator: Stand by or follow up again. Thanks for following up
8/4/16, 4:20 PM – Jenn Kobelt: Ok
8/4/16, 7:24 PM – Coordinator: How about tomorrow at noon
8/4/16, 7:24 PM – Coordinator:?
8/4/16, 8:18 PM – Coordinator: Or tomorrow at 6 pm?
8/4/16, 8:20 PM – Jenn Kobelt: Tomorrow at 6pm is much better. I’m staying at Sam’s – is there someone willing to pick me up from there and take me home afterwards?
8/4/16, 8:20 PM – Coordinator: I think we can figure it out.
8/4/16, 8:20 PM – Coordinator: Can we book it?
8/4/16, 8:21 PM – Jenn Kobelt: Yep. Tomorrow at 6pm. I’ll be ready to leave by 5:30 (I’m not sure where it is or how long it would take to drive there)
8/4/16, 8:21 PM – Coordinator: It’s at Apropos. In theory you could walk there, but I’ll see if Brandon [Porter] can pick you up.
8/4/16, 8:21 PM – Coordinator: Thanks!
8/4/16, 8:21 PM – Jenn Kobelt: I’ll totally walk there!
8/4/16, 8:23 PM – Coordinator: Awesome. The front door might be locked, so just come in the back.
8/4/16, 8:30 PM – Jenn Kobelt: Ok
The following is a redacted screenshot that I obtained from Brandon Porter. When Porter gave me this screenshot under the condition that Jane Doe 19’s name be redacted, which I have done. He told me this was a text exchange between himself and Jane Doe 19, and it lines up with the timeframe of the WhatsApp messages between the coordinator and Kobelt.
Porter does not know I am disclosing Jane Doe 19’s name. He has told me that he does not agree with naming the Does and even asked me not to do so.
But I disagree with Porter, at least about Jane Doe 19. For me to refer to Jenn Kobelt as Jane Doe 19 would be like referring to Sarah Edmondson as Sarah and India Oxenberg as India, as was done in the criminal trial, even though they are known to the world.
The redacted screenshot shows Kobelt arriving for the study and Porter checking in with her the day after.
Porter (8/5/16, 6:07pm): Hey, are you coming to apropos for the experiment?
Kobelt (8/5/16, 6:07pm): Yep. I’m inside waiting.
Porter (8/6/16, 10:22am): How are you doing today?
Kobelt (8/6/16, 10:25am): Ummm, I feel like the world is different and yucky, but I know the world hadn’t changed, it’s me that’s changed. I’m ok, just feeling much less safe than I used to tell myself I was.
Kobelt was fine. She said “I’m ok, just feeling less safe than I used to tell myself I was.” It is true that she saw things that opened her eyes, but she says she was ok.
Legacy of the Study
Jenn Kobelt made her name forever synonymous with ‘human fright experiment’ because she’s the one who blew the shrieking whistle of terror and it was Frank Parlato, the biased journalist who dubbed it the ‘Human Fright Experiment.’
That’s not what it was called and this ugly label attached itself to what was actually a noble and worthy enterprise to learn more about the human mind and the human emotions and its relationship to human morality.
There are two names that deserve shame in the history of this study. One is Frank Parlato and the other is Jane Doe 19, a.k.a. Jenn Kobelt. These two names are names of ignominy, and instead of Porter and Raniere being names to elicit disgust, we should maybe thank them for their effort to gauge human emotion and make a sincere scientific study.
But for the irascible Parlato and crying Kobelt, this study may have actually advanced our knowledge about emotions.
Furthermore, this was something totally voluntary and no one had any complaint until articles began appearing on the FrankReport, and most of the complaints were after people learned they could get Bronfman money for having watched a series of video clips.
Maybe you think I’m just a blind fool, but at some point, we’ll investigate this further. In the meantime, keep an open mind that the villains here are Parlato, Kobelt and the crazy media and a vindictive and draconian medical board and maybe this study was meant for good. It wasn’t a human fright experiment. It was a study of emotions.
Nobody went into this thinking it was going to be Captain Kangaroo, Mickey Mouse, Mr. Rogers, the Romper Room, or Sesame Street.
Nobody thought that’s what they were going to see. Everyone expected they were going to see edgy stuff and anybody that says otherwise is lying, because they knew there were going to be edgy, evocative, and provocative, and was going to run the gamut of emotions.
The purpose of this particular study was to develop a way to measure the results of the NXIVM “Ethicist” course, which was a program for teaching students how to more consistently make decisions that comported with their ideal personal morality, whether it had to do with minor day-to-day decisions or major life events or significant business dealings
This study was to examine participants’ ability to allow themselves to feel the range of emotions, in particular sorrow, which is a prerequisite for any kind of morality.
Even Kobelt admitted at the time that her world changed and she saw something of a different world and even if that was to morph into other ideas later, the very fact that a study could change your view of the world or give you a different mindset, even that in itself is an emotional experience. Even that is a lesson to be learned.