By Paul Serran
US Atty. Richard P Donoghue: “Keith Raniere was a master manipulator, a con-man and a crime boss of a cult-like organization.”
Five years ago, Nicki Clyne stood powerless in a sidewalk on a street in Chacala, near Puerto Vallarta, in Mexico. Heavily armed Federales wearing balaclavas raided the house she was staying in, and arrested her mentor and guru Keith Raniere, the man she ‘perceived to have a knowledge of humanity and spirituality that could help [her] on the quest to find [her] higher self.’
The indictment and trial of the leader of NXIVM revealed the underbelly of the self-help group and the secret society of DOS, who practiced master-slave relationships and involved branding the female members – followers of Raniere – with a cauterizing pen in the groin.
US Attorney Richard P Donoghue: “Keith Raniere, who portrayed himself as a savant and a genius, was in fact a master manipulator, a con-man and a crime boss of a cult-like organization involving sex-trafficking, child pornography, extortion, compelled abortions, branding, degradation and humiliation.”
Raniere was sentenced to 120 years in jail, and a whole segment of the cultural industry sprung into mainstream media, from documentaries like HBO’s ‘The Vow,’ Starz’ ‘Seduced,’ and Investigation Discovery’s Lost Women of NXIVM, to a plethora of TV shows, books, podcasts and articles.
Most members were quick to disavow their former ‘Vanguard,’ and some even made a lot of money in the process. But not Nicki.
For five long years, she stood by her Master, to be reviled by the media and popular culture.
If someone told her she was brainwashed – which they often did – she just smiled quietly, asked not to be dismissed, and engaged in a rational debate.
Sure enough, her pro Raniere arguments were usually flawed, but, anyway, Clyne was a puzzle – you expect ‘cult followers’ to be wide-eyed, loud mouthed freaks.
I had the opportunity to write quite a bit about her for the Frank Report, and learned – to my surprise – that, but for her defense of her ‘mental captor’ Raniere, she was a lovely and agreeable person all around.
So I was overjoyed to learn that a couple of weeks ago she had, at long last, renounced her ‘Master’ and ‘Vanguard.’
Her awakening is a beautiful thing, and I’m a sucker for redemption stories.
Clyne wrote on the Frank Report:
“I have changed my position on Keith Raniere. I no longer believe he is a man of noble character, as I once did.
I also do not believe he considered my best interests or helped me achieve the goals for which I sought his guidance.
I have come to certain realizations about my past decisions and views, which leave me with no choice but to renounce the man who influenced them. I will no longer publicly support or try to free him for these and many other reasons.
I do not believe my intentions were false or impure, but the methods I followed were misguided.”
Clyne first met Raniere at 23 years old, with a little fame, a little money and a yearning for spiritual growth. He quickly convinced her that ‘he knew better than anyone how to achieve or become what [she] sought’.
“He then asked me what my biggest fear was concerning him. I said I feared that he would want to sleep with me.
So, when he inevitably encouraged our sexual union, I assumed it was to help me overcome my biggest fears and attachments.”
So, for 16 years, she was operating under his nefast and pervasive influence. And she made her fair share of mistakes in that dysfunctional community.
The one kickass aspect of the teachings Nicki Clyne brings to her life from NXIVM is the absolute refusal to see herself as a victim. This is a breath of fresh air in this crazy world of ours that values self-pity above all.
“I say this not for sympathy, and I am not seeking retribution. I have no one to blame but myself and my myopic view that Keith was the ultimate guide for my spiritual advancement.
[…] I persuaded myself that Keith’s abusive treatment was part of the path to the freedom I was seeking. Instead, through calculated deception, he taught me to doubt myself, distrust my intuition, believe myself unworthy, and, most of all, he taught me to fear him unconditionally.”
The break-up letter was published on the Frank Report, which is the home for all things NXIVM, and the hub where the whistleblowers and escapees from the cult congregate.
The news blog is published by Frank Parlato, widely regarded as the man who took down NXIVM with his relentless, in-depth, no-holds-barred reporting.
After Raniere and his top lieutenants were tried, convicted and incarcerated, everyone – including me – advised Parlato to move on from endlessly engaging the ‘remainers,’ the NXIVM followers who persisted in their support for Raniere. One of them was Nicki Clyne.
I’m elated to be proven wrong, in this case, as I read the generous words of Clyne about Parlato:
“My recent realizations were facilitated by a man I once feared, the person I considered my biggest enemy, and the reason for my life’s destruction[…]. Frank Parlato has been blamed and applauded for taking down Keith Raniere and NXIVM. For years, I resented and feared him.
[…] Frank’s rigorous investigation into Keith and NXIVM allowed me to re-evaluate my views and my own experience in such a way that it is irrefutable.
[…} I thought it would have greater personal significance to Keith, and to his remaining supporters, that I announced my departure on the Frank Report over any other publication.”
A few days later, Clyne penned another article on the Frank Report, and together, both offerings reveal a LOT of what we already suspected.
Look at what I wrote about her in the past: ‘Indeed, as we look at Nicki Clyne’s face in her manifold videos, we can arrive at the same conclusion. Beneath the kind smile, there is always a certain sadness.’
Look at what Nicki wrote: “a part of me that secretly hoped Keith would never be released from prison. […] I prayed that Keith would let me go in peace once all legal remedies were exhausted to free him.”
This was not a mere metaphorical fear. As a member of DOS, Clyne surrendered to Keith an endless stream of ‘collateral’ in the form of nude sexy pictures, family secrets and other embarrassing kompromat to be used against her should she ever betray the Master.
In a way, Parlato slowly and gently ‘deprogrammed’ her, which is another huge victory of his against NXIVM lunacy. However, the bulk of the work was done by her.
It takes enormous mental fortitude to publicly admit you have been conned for years. Most people can’t do it. She proved she is the exception.
Her awakening is her own. Way to go, Nicki!
People who hate her (there’s never a shortage of them) will certainly connect the timing of her decision to renounce Keith Raniere with the revelation that her estranged wife, actress Allison Mack, one of the people convicted on the NXIVM prosecution, received an early release and will be free in about four months.
Clyne’s insistence on supporting Raniere, even after Mack turned on him and gave prosecutors evidence against him, was reported to be a massive source of tension in the couple, so maybe there is some meaning in this ‘coincidence’.
I don’t care. Today I just want to celebrate Clyne’s awakening, and pray that she can live a life free of the influence of a ‘master manipulator, con-man and crime boss of a cult-like organization.”
This article was originally posted on Paul Serran’s blog, read the original post here.
I believe that Nicki Clyne had broken away from Raniere when she posted pictures on Instagram, pictures that identified Raniere’s location in Puerto Vallarta.
The FBI was able to track Raniere’s whereabouts to the exact neighborhood on the basis of those pictures alone.
That was not an accident.
It was a deliberate action by Clyne.
Read the story of John Dillinger and The Woman in Red who told the FBI the exact Chicago movie theater Dillinger would attend the movie “Manhattan Melodrama.” in 1934.
Nicki Clyne is Raniere’s Woman in Red.
I have walked down Dillinger Alley many times.
Dillinger Alley: Does John Dillinger’s Ghost still haunt this alleyway?
Shadow, if you believe this why have you constantly been so hard on her? She was instrumental in having him arrested if this is the case and you should have applauded her.
Kinda like many of the decisions on
Cept they dont just want their money back , they want everything & everyones money 🤔
The “why” is Shadow’s
mental state. He’s mental.
I think Shadow is pursuing a legitimate theory. It’s like the Vice “journalist” who uploaded the IG pic giving the EXACT coordinates of John McAfee. That journalist was a suspected FBI plant. He knew EXACTLY what he was doing and collected big under the radar reward money. For all we know, Nicki was in contact with the FBI and collected a sum of cash to give Vanturds location away. I highly doubt she is that stupid to not realize she was giving the authorities a location to triangular on. Lauren and Allison are that stupid, but not Nicki. She is a sharp as a tack. My opinion, that trip with Vanturd and his harum was a suicide mission. Once India arrived, the full extent of the mission would be disclosed and the motions of mass suicide would commence. Nicki may have saved four lives by her actions, intentional or not.
So, India was expected to show up soon? You figure he meant to suicide Lauren, Nicki, Allison and India?
India wasn’t first line though OR was she?
I do not think India was first line. However, Allison gave her the greenlight to join them. I believe the goal was for Lauren, Nicki, Allison, Dani, India and Vanturd to all commit suicide together as one final act if defiance. I do not think all the first line slaves would have committed suicide. But India would have. She was committed to DOS above all else.
“Shadow, if you believe this why….”
Why indeed….Shadow’s mind works in strange and mysterious way……
The better question is: why, you, believe Shadow can explain himself?
Its like asking Alonzo or Sultan to explain themselves. Batshit crazy people don’t have a “why”.
There seems to be belief, as persistent as it is baseless, that Nikki Clyne is a virtuous and kind person, and always has been so deep down.
“… she just smiled quietly, asked not to be dismissed, and engaged in a rational debate.
…she was a lovely and agreeable person all around”
What evidence is there for this? That she finally and much belatedly split from Raniere? That she renounced him (not denounced him, there’s an important difference)?
She split from this convicted felon because she realized there is no future for her in publicly supporting him. Read her statement carefully.
She came to realize that Raniere is not the ethical man she once thought he was (duh) and that he was using her (again, duh). She came to realize that following him had been a mistake because he was not going to lead her to the “spiritual fulfillment” she sought (puke).
I get why people think Clyne is nice. She’s attractive and personable and she played a Sci-fi cutie on TV. Maybe it’s the big Pokémon-character eyes.
Raniere was similarly attractive to lots of women because he held a position of leadership and power. Power is sexy. They thought he was good.
For anyone who thinks Nikky Clyne is a good person, here’s a reminder that she was a first-line slave master:
“Clyne was named as a co-conspirator at Raniere’s trial, and witnesses testified that she recruited at least three so-called “slaves” who were at first told about a secret women’s empowerment group, propositioned to hand over life-destroying “collateral” to hear the details, and then initiated into a master/slave relationship in which speaking out or going against Clyne’s orders were grounds for collateral release.”
-Vice, July 22, 2020
Now she has renounced (not denounced) Raniere, a man who was proven guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking years ago. She still thinks he was unfairly convicted. She thinks she has nothing to apologize for regarding her role in a proven criminal organization. Where she was paid. She apparently still thinks the slavery idea was fine, that the blackmail material was just “collateral, like a bank loan.
You say “I’m a sucker for redemption stories”. A lot of people are. My advice is, don’t be a sucker.
You’ve got a point Aristotle. If Clyne looked like the back end of a bus, I’m pretty sure people’s sympathy for her would be more muted.
Are we splitting hairs though in using the word ‘renounce’ rather than ‘denounce’? She’s certainly renounced him, but if you take in the totality of what she’s said, to my mind it borders, if not actually crosses the line, on denunciation, especially with the 30 “controversies”. She’s clearly aiming to get the vestiges to see the light. Unlike Paul Serran, her writing shows a clear understanding of her target audience and her reasons for writing.
Her revelations might seem obvious to us, but we’re not the ones who were mind-fucked for so many years, and not just by Raniere, but by a whole community, who for many disparate reasons bought into the BS. Souki Mehdaoui’s experience of DOS in Season 1 of The Vow is testament to how highly intelligent people can often counterintuitively be the most susceptible to manipulation and indoctrination. And yes, power is always a turn-on.
I’m not sure I buy into the “spiritual fulfillment” stuff either. I suspect her reasons were more personal and rooted in her childhood; there was something broken that she thought could only be fixed by extreme measures. NLP is a powerful tool and she was bowled over by it. That, the selective sociology, and the love bombing followed by carefully timed rejection swept her out into a sea of psychological dependency.
The “big Pokémon-character eyes” were also her undoing, for were they not that which afforded her special attention from the Master to begin with? Not sure she was paid that much either – Bromfman minimum wage stuff. If it’s found in the civil case that she did give out sex assignments, then sure – she deserves to get her ass sued. Let’s see.
Thank you A.S.
Thought this entire post was so bizarre. There’s a lot more that could be written but it would just probably get my comment censored again. And while it is admirable for anyone to leave a high control group, there is still room for accountability and honesty
Regarding Nicki Clyne. I admit I gave her some shit on twitter and she blocked me. I challenged her about participating in the branding of an African American woman, namely Michele. Michele, with one ‘L’. The implications, morally and historically of a group of white women burning the skin of an African American woman troubled me more than the other converts. Michele, on film, genuinely seemed to be a genuine soul seeker and I thought of her as a rat stuck on a glue trap, unable to leave. Several years ago I spent hours saving a rat in this manner, with dishwashing liquid and vegetable oil. It always feels good when they get away.
Nicki’s incredibly articulate affidavit of why she stepped away from the cult of `Keith was brilliant. I hope it was true.
When I saw the article about her move I felt incredibly happy for her. Not in a sense of winning or being right, but because the girl is liberated. She let go. And sometimes letting go is an incredible act of personal salvation. I hope she finds her joy.
I agree with your sentiment about Nicki. She seems sincere and deserves to move on with her life. I’m curious, why do you think she participated in Michele’s branding ceremony? I thought Michele was invited into DOS by Allison Mack and was part of her “slave pod” (along with India, Danielle, and Nicole). Nicki, I presume, had her own slaves, though I’m not sure if they were branded or what nationality they were. In any case, I also hope Michele wakes up soon, or at least moves on, even if she doesn’t publicly denounce Raniere. It makes no sense that the Dossier women are doubling down except that they’re pissed at Nicki for leaving them in the dust. Hopefully once the dust clears, they’ll see the error of their ways and let it go.
Nicki what are your beauty secrets? I love that you are who you are. Some people slide through shit turds and smell like 🌹 roses. It’s the thorns that hurt, but the rose, the rose is where it’s at.
Last week, you hated her, its ridiculous
The lesson, love yourself no matter how you look. Sheesh
“I have no one to blame but myself and my myopic view that Keith was the ultimate guide for my spiritual advancement”
Err, actually she does. How about KAR himself? You know…the guy doing 120 years
“The one kickass aspect of the teachings Nicki Clyne brings to her life from NXIVM is the absolute refusal to see herself as a victim. This is a breath of fresh air in this crazy world of ours that values self-pity above all.”
No, Paul, it most decidedly is not. It was derived from Raniere’s oversimplified and misogynistic teachings concerning the nature of women. Nicki and Allison were both in the top victim category in my view:
Both of them completely bought into Raniere’s BS from a very young age, wasted many of the most important years of their lives, paid vast amounts of their own money into sham courses, and sacrificed acting careers that could have taken them to the top of their profession. They were deprived of the opportunity to find someone who genuinely loved them, possibly marriage, have kids, and all the other great things you find in a normal life.
During their time with Raniere they were abused, manipulated, coerced, bullied and treated with contempt by a sadistic psychopath who never had any feelings for either of them. Both have spent the last few years contemplating all of this, having lost countless friends, relationships and opportunities; they have been ridiculed in society and the media.
Objectively they ARE victims, whether or not they see themselves as that. Part of the healing process will be coming to terms with that and owning it. From what Nicki has said recently, it appears that process for her has already started.
Many on the right love to disdain self-pity, or as it’s often referred to, ‘the culture of victimhood’. This position often seeks to undermine those sections of society who harbour legitimate grievances, whether that’s exploitation, exposure to sexual/physical abuse, racism, socio-economic disadvantage or hatred/discrimination of marginal groups.
The irony is that the political leaders promoting such thinking are usually the people who are the most guilty of portraying themselves, and those they claim to represent, as victims, and are the most adept at doing so.
She may blame herself rather than Raniere, but she should at least acknowledge that Raniere was a manipulative bad guy who deserves a share of the blame.
Agreed. She’s coming from all that nonsense they were taught in JNESS about the character of women always looking for excuses, lacking moral strength and needing to ‘assert their agency’. If she thinks logically, Raniere’s psychopathic tendencies and ability to manipulate and coerce women were what drove her own behavior in DOS.
People in general do all of that, male or female. It’s not specific to the latter obviously but to people of poor behavior and integrity, and saying it is specifically applicable to women without actual facts and legitimate statistics to back it up makes it sexist/misogynistic. Look at Raniere and how many excuses he makes for his bad behavior.
With you there. Like Trump, Raniere is one of the world’s greatest sympathy seeking supposed “victims”. He was a prime exponent of everything he bitched about – lacking character, selfish, dishonest, self-entitled, spoilt, complaining, and refusing to be accountable for his actions.
I think inadvertently he did capture an essence of ‘letting Go’ as far as women always trying so hard to be people pleasers & that does provide an inner freedom for people who try too hard…to be comfortable with oneself is a good lesson., even if he did hold an ace up his sleeve. This is what I believe helped some people.
His intentions truly, well , we’ll never completely know BUT obviously all sides can see he is getting his share of the blame.
Unfortunately so are some really nice, remarkable people.
Its curtain call, Move On.
Yeah… not all women care about being “people pleasers” because not all women are the same. True story.
Women are individuals. They don’t have a group personality or all share one clone identity lol
But moving on is great advice for those clinging to the cult!
Yeah, Michelle Salzman does the exact same culty thing as a coach for The Sculpted Vegan. I think Frank should do a piece comparing and contrasting certified psychology vs uncertified coaching.
True. But no one ever thinks “all”when they make generalizations. They either have the statistics to back up a majority indicator or a scientific or philosophic argument to argue that is part of the essence or nature of women (is any other being), like it is for women to be less aggressive and more compassionate than men IN GENERAL, or that it is only women who can give birth. There are exceptions among individuals in almost every case, but as far as nature is concerned, a triangle could never be a triangle if it wasn’t a three-sided plane figure.
Ah! Then there’s those that ALWAYS need the last word….
Umm…I’m actually a different person than the one you initially responded to. So, technically it was just my first words.
Meant for 11:56
There’s simply no chronological order here which further infuriates or confuses people, so I understand