How did Sarah Edmondson’s husband help her escape NXIVM?
People who follow NXIVM know that Canadian actress Sarah Edmondson escaped the cult and broke the story of DOS, the sex-slave trafficking ring that festered in the organization, to the press. What many people don’t know is that her husband, Anthony “Nippy” Ames, was instrumental in Sarah Edmondson leaving NXIVM.
Nippy wasn’t just a bystander in NXIVM. He was a prominent member of NXIVM’s men’s empowerment chapter, Society of Protectors (SOP). SOP taught men to eschew toxic masculinity to be true protectors of women.
It seems like Nippy walked the walk, because before leaving NXIVM himself, he confronted NXIVM leader Keith Raniere, Allison Mack, and Lauren Salzman, Sarah Edmondson’s “master”, about the blackmail & abuse going on in DOS.
HBO’s docuseries The Vow reveals more about Nippy’s participation. Here’s what we learned from The Vow about Nippy, his relationship with Sarah Edmondson, and how they left.
Nippy and Sarah Edmondson’s relationship
Sarah Edmondson met Nippy during V-Week or Vanguard week. V-Week was a weeklong seminar in Albany celebrating Vanguard, Keith Raniere. It was a giant party combined with NXIVM’s Oscars, award ceremonies where members were recognized for their growth. It coincided with Keith Raniere’s birthday week.
Often, members would graduate to the next “scarf” level or earn a stripe for their scarves, NXIVM’s version of merit badges or ranks within their organization. Sarah Edmondson was a “green scarf” before leaving the organization, one of the few members to ascend to that level.
In 2013, several years after Edmondson first met Nippy, they tied the knot. They reused the vows Keith Raniere wrote for fellow NXIVM couple Mark Vicente and Bonnie Piesse. Like Edmondson, Vivente & Piesse would leave NXIVM after learning about DOS.
The tenants of SOP
The Vow reveals that DOS wasn’t the only subgroup in NXIVM. NXIVM was an umbrella group for several subgroups, some centering on childcare and education. Keith Raniere’s stated mission for the group was to expand into every facet of life, bringing NXIVM’s tenants of personal empowerment to the world.
One group of interest was men’s empowerment. SOP was NXIVM’s branch in charge of recruiting men. The men’s workshop focused heavily on honor and commitment. It’s been compared to the freemasons.
Nippy was part of Sarah Edmondson’s collateral
DOS originally was supposed to be a female counterpart to SOP (although Jness already existed as a female-empowerment group within NXIVM), directly or indirectly. However, the organization took on a twisted life of its own when branding and sex trafficking were introduced.
Before joining DOS, NXIVM members like Sarah Edmondson would have to give their future masters “collateral”, humiliating pictures, voice recordings, or video that their master would blackmail them with if they didn’t comply or tried to leave. Edmondson’s collateral involved Nippy.
Sarah Edmondson revealed on The Vow that the first piece of collateral she gave to Lauren Salzman was a made-up voice recording alleging that Nippy abused her & their young son, Troy. Edmondson thought that would be the last piece of collateral she had to give, but Salzman wanted more, at least monthly.
After the brand
When Sarah Edmondson was branded, she thought several times about calling Nippy to pick her up. She deduced she was at Allison Mack’s house, so Nippy would know where she was. When Nippy found out after Edmondson told him & showed him her brand, he was obviously upset.
“I had been out there peddling this f***ing sh*t for however many years,” Nippy said angrily when interviewed on The Vow. After cutting to a scene of Nippy ironically explaining NXIVM’s view on lying, Nippy told the interviewer that he felt “pissed and scared, mostly scared” when he found out about DOS.
“Because there’s also the component of, ‘if this isn’t true,’ what I’ve been doing for all these years . . . what’s real?”
The end of the episode “At Cause” reveals an explosive phone conversation between Nippy and Edmondson’s former master Lauren Salzman. Nippy warns her that she may be engaging in “criminal behavior” by branding his wife. “I have a three-year-old boy, I have a wife, I don’t want them subjected to any of this crap,” he told her.
Nippy helped India Oxenberg escape NXIVM
The latest episode of The Vow, “Building Character,” details how Sarah Edmondson and Nippy helped India Oxenberg escape NXIVM. After leaving NXIVM, Edmondson felt responsible for recruiting so many women into the organization, who were not sitting ducks for DOS recruitment.
Before leaving Vancouver, she instructed her former NXIVM Canadian HQ staff to not allow anyone to recruit for DOS. She said she understood that Raniere, Mack, and Salzman may have tried telling her staff that she was lying, but she didn’t care. She wanted the truth out.
To help other members leave, she reached out to their families. Sarah Edmondson reached out to Dynasty star Catherine Oxenberg because her daughter India was in NXIVM and may have been a member of DOS. Nippy said in The Vow’s latest episode that he went to NXIVM’s leadership and gave them an ultimatum: destroy the collateral or he was going to the authorities.