In the fall, HBO will release the second season of “The Vow,” a documentary saga about the so-called “executive success” organization NXIVM, which evolved into a nefarious sex cult—an abusive sorority that used a cautery iron to brand female members with the initials of the group’s leader, Keith Raniere.
How did things up in Albany go so very wrong? Answers can be found in the popular and wildly compelling podcast “A Little Bit Culty,” hosted by two former high-ranking NXIVM members, Sarah Edmondson and Anthony (Nippy) Ames.
They met and were married while in NXIVM, and are jointly pursuing a new mission: to get people out of cults, and to provide an open channel where former cult members can discuss what they went through. Their podcast, now in its fourth season, offers a fascinating glimpse into a marriage, and at two people grappling with regret and anger in real time.
What makes it different from other cult podcasts—and they are legion—is that it’s less about teasing out horrific details and more about publicly processing life after brainwashing, with all the confusion and grief and pain that come with realizing you were a victim of—and also perpetuated—a dangerous scam.
Both Edmondson and Ames have a good sense of humor—Edmondson’s favorite expression is “that really chaps my ass”—and their lighthearted approach helps their guests delve into some truly dark places.
The Edmondson-Ames podcast has been praised by the New Yorker for its “riveting” and “compelling” storytelling. The podcast tells the true story of two families who were forced to flee their homes during the American Civil War.
Apparently Sarah Edmondson is moving to “Atlanta” based on what she said in her podcast. Do you or anybody else know if that means “Atlanta” Canada or “Atlanta” Georgia?………
Though I don’t know for certain, I’m pretty sure they meant Atlanta, Georgia. It’s where Nippy is from, & they spent a lot of last summer down there.
Excellent podcast! Very informative and eye opening about various high control groups. Not exclusively cults either. They should be very proud of the work they’re doing. This is what true success looks like.
I haven’t listed to their podcast (no time) but to those that have: Do Sarah or Nippy detail any of the nefarious or maybe just embarrassing things they were personally involved in?
Do they explain what they did or saw at Necker Island? Or do they respond to or rufute the rumors that there was “partner swapping” amongst the cult members that didn’t involve Keith? Or does Nippy tell about the things he did or was taught in SOP?
Oh! I wasnt aware they were chosen , volunteered ? for Necker Island, that would be interesting, Allison was also at Necker Island and Mrs.Oxenburg with Mr. Dean, her Hubble at that time. Perhaps they could put a flashlight on this for an episode?? I might actually listen then.
Necker also included Hildreth and his partner Kreuk plus other high rankers. Writer John Tighe’s source claimed that tax dodging and other nefarious things were planned. Oh BTW…the members fucked like rabbits. Sarah and Nippy could add juicy details if they really wanted to expose the sex cult.
It’s a popular podcast for a reason. They do a great job on it. It fits a really crucial niche by examining a lot of existing groups and people who may be crossing some lines an abuse of power and mistreatment. They cover a wide variety of circumstance and situations everything from fitness to religion even fiction authors writing about cults. It’s excellent. And as importantly it’s very entertaining and engaging.
Viva success without Nxivm!
It’s successful because people can’t get enough of shit talk. People like to either bitch moan and complain about other humans or idolize them.
That’s not my experience listening to it at all. Maybe that is more of a reflection of yourself?
It is all that and brings rationale for what has made us be the persons we are. They have been a dynamic resource.
As one who has listened to their every podcast, I have been able to put together the pieces of my lightly culty 70 years of life. Fundamentalist church and family, multilevel marketing businesses and abuses. Not brainwashed. Nip was not brainwashed. Sarah was highly influenced by cultists and wanting a successful life.
That NYT writer mislabeled them.
Their activism has helped them make sense of their choices and actions. Sarah says she was the victim of a con and was very good at recruiting. They are compelled to help release others from the shame and damage of being abused. Like the Frank Report.
They are searching for a name to call themselves and followers. Successors.
It really is an excellent podcast. What I learned from the podcast is just how many cults are out there and how fucked up they all are. I never would have guessed the shit people are willing to believe in but my eyes are open now (Q’anon, hello!). It also made me realize that keith is not special, NXIVM is not unique. keith is just one more in a long line of liars, cons, and scumbags.
So I’ve heard just about every podcast, still working my way through season 4 though. These are my personal favorites that I think FR readers would also enjoy, but there’s a lot of good ones:
– Season 1, episode 3: Heal That Shit: Leah Remini & The Aftermath. (Ice-nine’s note: that Remini cusses like a fuckin’ sailor, Scientology certainly didn’t make a lady out of her!)
– Season 1, episode 4: Fuck This, I’m Out: Mike Rinder & The About-Face
– Bonus SUMMER Episode: Catching Up with India Oxenberg
– Season 2, episode 6: Groundbreaker: Moira Penza on Prosecuting NXIVM
– Season 3, episode 11: Sarma Speaks: A ‘Bad Vegan’ Exclusive
Sarah and Nippy are doing far more good now than anything that would have come from NXIVM. I think that’s considered irony or something like that. Ice-nine recommends!