And I think he is going to fight hard to prevail.
Two things unhinged Raniere.
One was illegal and one unethical.
The illegal was collateral. The unethical was branding women on their pubic area with Raniere’s initials.
If he hadn’t branded where he branded, and if it wasn’t his initials, and if he didn’t take collateral, he’d be walking the streets in Clifton Park, hand-in-hand with his slaves.
Today, you would be able to drive down tree-lined streets in Knox Woods and see him walking at any hour, strolling about, entering into some home for a Mexican, or, as the case may be, an American quickie.
As an example of Keith’s hubris, which is what got the fool in trouble, he sent this message to one of his grand-slaves, I believe it was Souki, about the brand.
She read in the Frank Report that it was his initials.
He admitted it was true and texted: “Not intended initially as my initials but they rearranged it slightly for tribute (if it were Abraham Lincoln’s or Bill Gate’s initials no one would care). The primary meaning and design of the brand symbol has nothing to do with my initials.” (The New York Times)
What is collateral?
In the affidavit of FBI Special Agent Michael Lever, he wrote, “Collateral consisted of material or information that the prospective slave would not want revealed because it would be ruinous to the prospective slave herself and/or someone close to her. Collateral provided by prospective slaves included sexually explicit photographs; videos made to look candid in which the prospective slaves told damning stories (true or untrue) about themselves, close friends and/or family members; and letters making damaging accusations (true or untrue) against friends and family members.”
Here’s what Glazer alleges in his First Amended Complaint:
“After supplying collateral, which had to be approved by the First Line Masters and Raniere, DOS was revealed to the recruits. But to their surprise and dismay, they were told that now, before they could learn about the structure and nature of this sisterhood, they had to provide additional humiliating and damaging collateral. Thus, before knowing anything about the internal workings of DOS, they were trapped, fearful that if they did not do precisely as instructed, the collateral that they had already provided would be released.”
“Once that second collateral had been given and approved, the recruiter/master revealed a little more about DOS: that it was a pyramid of “master/slave” relationships, explained as no different from a guru and disciple or a mentor-mentee relationship, which would strengthen women by testing and challenging their boundaries but would require absolute trust and obedience by “slaves” to their “masters.” Shortly after being admitted into the group, slaves were commanded to provide additional collateral every month”
What kind of organization would fail to tell people, until they’ve given collateral, that they’re going to be on the hook for more and more, for their whole lives?
I don’t condemn Raniere for the viciousness. I condemn him for stupidity, thinking this could possibly work.
In interviews with Nicole and others in DOS, one of the common complaints was that they couldn’t keep up with the collateral. Slaves wanted to quit not because they were afraid of collateral being released but because they could not keep coming up with ideas about what new collateral to give.
For the world’s smartest man, next to myself and a few others, to have cooked up this collateral idea was stupid but, as Glazer and others allege, it was criminal too, and it buried Raniere.
And Glazer is right to go after the Bronfmans.
But for the Bronfmans, Raniere would have been nothing but a small time grifter.
But with Bronfman money and a zany idea to brand women on their pubis with his initials, but not tell them it was his initials, and take collateral – blackmail-worthy material – launched him to a primary place among America’s criminals.
Documentaries, books, podcasts, hundreds of news and magazine articles quickly followed. He became famous.
Thank the Bronfmans for that.
The transcripts of the trial, the testimony of Sylvie, Lauren Salzman, Nicole and Jaye reveal the coercive nature of collateral.
On top of that, I have more evidence to offer. I interviewed more than a dozen women, including Nicole, just as they were leaving DOS, before Raniere’s arrest, before any had attorneys, before the civil suit was born. Their interviews – fresh out of DOS – tell the raw, true, unvarnished story of why they left.
These interviews tell a gripping tale, and I believe a more accurate story than anything told to date.
In the meantime, when we think of Raniere in prison for 120 years and when we think of DOS women collecting millions from the Bronfmans, none of it would have been possible but for branding and the insane notion of keeping women silent by taking collateral.
The idea of collateral forcing women to keep the sorority a secret reminds me of Ben Franklin’s quip, “Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead.”
This was bound to get out. It was foolish for Raniere to think he could have a thousand, or ten thousand women keeping a secret, with him secretly at the head, all coerced into keeping DOS secret by blackmail-worthy material he called collateral.
In a way, this proves it was coercive because he expected an army of women silenced and muted, based on blackmail.
Collateral and branding were the brainchild of Keith Raniere.
Viva Executive Success!