Manage episode 275406569 series 2582407
Cult! Cult! Cult! The NXIVM Sex Cult!
Founded by Keith Raniere in 1998 - at its height, NXIVM counted thousands of members, including celebrities, heirs and heiresses who all paid thousands, and sometimes MILLIONS of dollars to attend a never-ending series of classes at various NVIXM training centers. Lying at the intersection of a multi-level marketing scheme, a self-help group, and occasionally a summer camp, NXIVM was FOR SURE a cult. People started publicly worrying about how dangerous this cult might be all the way back in 2003. But it wouldn’t be until 2017, when the New York Times published an article about how some of its members were being literally BRANDED like cattle as a part of an initiation into a secret sex cult within NXIVM, that the group’s true and terrible practices would be brought into the light and exposed. Today, we’ll meet some people - seemingly ordinary people - that so desperately wanted someone to lead them to enlightenment that they allowed themselves to be slowly manipulated into paying to participate in weirder and weirder “exercises” until they finally agreed to be sex slaves. How did Keith pull this off? How did he manage to keep NXIVM going for almost twenty years? How do NXIVM and other multi-level marketing schemes keep manipulating people into taking their money? What psychological processes lead to people getting into and then staying in an MLM, or cult, or both? Find out today on a very different kind of episode.
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