Actress Allison Mack: Why is her wife defending Keith Raniere?
As Allison Mack & Keith Raniere await their sentences, NXIVM followers are beginning to speak out. Five NXIVM members, including Allison Mack’s wife, Battlestar Galactica’s Nicki Clyne, met with CBS This Morning broadcaster, Nicki Battiste, to share their side of the story.
While the interview offers an illuminating look into the mind of a NXIVM follower, it raises more questions than answers. Why now? Are NXIVM members like Nicki Clyne speaking to the press now because of Raniere’s upcoming sentence? Let’s take a look, and delve into Nicki Clyne’s reasoning for standing behind Keith Raniere.
An exclusive look
CBS News claims that NXIVM members who are still loyal to Keith Raniere haven’t spoken out publicly until now. Their public interview with CBS also comes after they delivered a petition & an affidavit to EDNY prosecutors from “We the People”.
In a socially distanced meeting in Central Park, five current NXIVM members met with Nicki Battiste for an exclusive interview where they shared their views on NXIVM. No one in the group considered themselves members of a cult when Battiste asked them. Also, every one of them thought Keith Raniere was wrongfully convicted.
NXIVM as an umbrella group
Marc Elliot, a NXIVM member, clarified that NXIVM was an “umbrella group”. “NXIVM was just a name, a parent company, with a bunch of companies underneath it,” Elliot told CBS. While it’s true that NXIVM was a supergroup comprised of several offshoots & DOS was only one of them, DOS was still under NXIVM’s purview.
Although one could argue that most NXIVM members didn’t know about DOS, two of the five members interviewed by CBS did, including Clyne.
Dancing around the branding
Nicki Battiste then asked if any of the members were in DOS. Both women, Nicki Clyne and Michele Hatchette raised their hands. “I think there is a difference between being branded and getting a brand,” Michele Hatchette told Battiste, elaborating on scarification as a consensual art form and the allegations that brands weren’t given consensually.
When Battise pressed Clyne on whether the branding is true, Clyne replied, “We’re not denying that certain things are true. There’s evidence certain things happened. How they happened, why they happened, and why certain people chose them, that’s a whole other conversation.”
When pressed about whether they had sexual relations with Keith Raniere, Hatchette clapped back. “If I went up to you and I asked you how many people you had sex with, it’s none of my business.”
Later in the CBS coverage, news anchor Gayle King said “Normally, she’s right, it’s nobody’s business,” the CBS anchor said. “Unless people were claiming they were having sex against their will. I thought that was a very interesting distinction.”
“A simple petition”
NXIVM members also addressed the petition that was sent to EDNY lawyers on behalf of “We the People”. EDNY prosecutors didn’t comment on the affidavit. Instead, they released documents that showed Keith Raniere drafted the affidavit in an email on June 9.
“It’s literally handing a document to a prosecutor and saying hey, can you sign here saying ‘I didn’t tamper with evidence, I didn’t lie to the public’” the petition deliverer, Suneel Chakravorty told CBS.
However, some former members believe the petition was an intimidation tactic. Frank Parlato, NXIVM’s former publicist, believes the petition will backfire and negatively impact Keith’s sentencing.
Nicki Clyne’s defense
When asked about whether Clyne knows how Allison Mack feels about her upcoming sentencing hearing, Clyne said she didn’t know. Part of Mack’s bail agreement was that she couldn’t speak to anyone involved in NXIVM, so Clyne hasn’t had contact with Allison Mack for a year and a half.
From the coverage, it seems like Clyne received her brand consensually. However, from former NXIVM member’s statements, including on The Vow, many members were coerced into being branded. In a lawsuit filed by over 80 former members of NXIVM, they called the cult a “ponzi scheme & coercive community,” rife with physical & emotional abuse.
Is this NXIVM’s MO?
As we saw in The Vow, NXIVM members had a habit of using common-sense morals against members when they addressed concerns about immorality. When Sarah Edmonson called a NXIVM member asking for clarification on why she was being targeted after leaving, he told her that she broke a promise.
The “promise” Edmonson broke was staying in DOS & subjecting herself to branding, blackmail, and high control. Most people realize that keeping your promise in that instance is harmful, and a bad-faith argument if the promise was unclear or coerced. However, NXIVM members seem satisfied with the reasoning that promises must be kept, no matter what.