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.