Jennifer Aniston and NXIVM: Was the actress actually in the cult?
The infamous NXIVM cult is back in the limelight as their leadership begins to face sentencing. Two new documentary series, HBO’s The Vow, and Starz’s Seduced, expose its chilling evils from the perspective of its former members.
Headed by Keith Raniere, NXIVM marketed itself as an MLM for self-help classes called the Executive Success Program. It later became an umbrella group for other organizations like SOP & Jness, claiming to improve the lives of their members & community. As time went on, The Times Union, Frank Parlato’s blog The Frank Report, and an infamous 2017 New York Times article revealed a much darker side of NXIVM.
NXIVM formed a sorority within its ranks called DOS, where members were coerced into being branded, starved, and sexually assaulted & trafficked. After an FBI investigation, Raniere and his inner circle, including Smallville actress Allison Mack, faced several charges related to DOS. Raniere was sentenced to 120 years in October. Mack pleaded guilty to racketeering in 2019 and still awaits sentencing.
NXIVM was known to recruit Hollywood stars to their ranks. Some sources claimed actress Jennifer Aniston and her then-BF Gerard Butler might have had some involvement in the cult. Apparently, the two took a course at NXIVM for unknown reasons, and ended up impressing current and potential members with their sparkling star-statuses. How deep did these stars get into NXIVM? Let’s find out.
A quick exit
After learning what the cult was all about, Aniston & Butler left and never looked back. According to EconoTimes, Aniston & Butler attended introductory classes, but never made it further because they were “turned off by the requirements that the organization was asking from them”. Claims that they “fought to escape” were debunked by Gossip Cop: the two simply left and didn’t return, without major consequences.
In Seduced, cult-survivor India Oxenberg revealed why members of NXIVM reached out to celebrities so consistently. By bringing famous people into their fold, no matter how short-lived, the group could make themselves seem more powerful & legitimate.
Oxenberg further explained how members would often mention that Aniston and Butler took classes at the organization, even though they got out of there ASAP.
Cults & status
It is not uncommon for cults to attempt to lure in high-status people, and, if successful, use their celebrity status to boost their membership. Take the Church of Scientology, for instance, who can’t seem to go one day without talking about members Tom Cruise & John Travolta.
Speaking of, there were also rumors that Aniston joined the Church of Scientology, although those were squashed pretty much immediately by Gossip Cop, who pointed out Anniston expressed interest in Scientology, but has never officially joined.
Ultimately, without high-status people, Keith Raniere couldn’t realize his true vision for the cult. Luckily for him, he already had the heiresses of the Seagram conglomerate, Clare & Sara Bronfman, and Alison Mack, the star of Smallville, who did her part in recruiting her friends in Hollywood.
Recruiting big names
Allsion Mack reached out to big names like Kelly Clarkson & Emma Watson, but, alas, she didn’t receive a response. Fellow Smallville star Alaina Huffman recalled being recruited by Mack. “She invited me a few times to some of these events and for whatever reason, I never made it,” Huffman told Page Six, but adding she could “understand the appeal.”
Mack’s work didn’t stop there, though. She recruited women in NXIVM to her & Raniere’s secret sorority: DOS. Within that sect of NXIVM, women were forced to serve Raniere . . . in whatever way he saw fit.
Mack is still awaiting sentencing, but it’s safe to say things aren’t looking too great for the disgraced actress. Raniere was found guilty of all seven counts he was charged with, including racketeering, sex trafficking, forced labor, and extortion. It’s unclear where he will serve his 120-year sentence.
Of course, Raniere isn’t staying quiet on the matter of his sentence. His attorneys claimed prosecutors engaged in misconduct, and “scared away witnesses” that might have been on his side. Despite his best efforts, a judge denied Raniere’s attempts to get a new trial.
“This is a horrible tragedy with many, many people being hurt,” said Raniere. “There is a horrible injustice here. And whether you think I’m the devil or not, the justice process has to be examined.”
Although it turns out that Aniston wasn’t actually a secret member of the NXIVM cult, Keith Raniere & his accomplices conducted unspeakable evils, the likes of which they are finally being brought to justice for. What do you think of the NXIVM case? Let us know in the comments!