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Door County Cherry

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7 minutes ago, LeGrandElephant said:

The best statements from students:

“I'm not trying to start a witch hunt here but she's a public figure and I think people should know about this so that they don't share personal info that they wouldn't want a sex-trafficking cult leader to have."

“She was in my ‘Gender, Sex and Power’ class for about a week, but left voluntarily after outcry from students who did not feel safe discussing those topics with someone who branded other women."

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How did she get into Berkeley? It is an extremely hard school to gain admittance to so this is weird. I wonder if she was previously a student there before she became an actress and then just re-enrolled. 

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I started out hopeful with this episode and Sarah vowing to get every woman she recruited for DOS out. I was instantly hooked. Then they moved subjects and the different stories found to be unsympathetic.

I think I don't resonate with the stories the directors are trying to tell. Maybe 2020 and white privilege has left me unsympathetic with the plight of rich white women. I'm not sure. I checked out as soon as they gave India's background. I'm not going to finish the series. I admire those who do. God speed.

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On 9/18/2020 at 2:24 AM, Cheezwiz said:

I think that's the key to how he got away with things for so long. Keith pretended to have no involvement - only tacit "approval". Women tend to trust other women, and most of these women were probably already 3/4 brainwashed to begin with. It also seems not all of the "masters" had knowledge of Keith's predatory behaviour either, so there was some compartmentalizing going on even within the DOS secret sorority.

Knowing what we know about the manipulation that was happening, I'm more and more impressed with Bonnie for trusting her instincts and bailing early on.

I'm interested in why some people crossed the line into predation and abuse, and why others were able to put the brakes on and get out.

I think part of it is that some of them maintained outside interests, like Bonnie and the conventions. Even married to a leader she never completely isolated herself.

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On 9/17/2020 at 4:36 PM, Maysie said:

As an old friend would say, I think we're in "violent agreement."  I would actually like to understand a bit more about Allison's journey in all of this, because the more I think about it, and then read additional thoughts and takes on it, such as the post below, I end up with more questions.

What I've learned with Sarah, Mark, Bonnie, Jane and India is that they all had some voids in their lives that NXIVM filled - it gave them confidence, purpose and family, and in the case of at least Sarah, a damn good livelihood. But they didn't cross that line into straight up abuse and Allison made that leap. So what was it about her (and Lauren and whoever else) that Keith saw and developed to turn her from a vulnerable young woman into essentially a predator/pimp? What didn't the others have - especially Sarah - that he was less confident in them? Was there an age limit? A physical type? I kind of feel like Bonnie wouldn't have stuck around for any of that, and it seems like he left men out of the scheme (though I guess we'll find out as we go on). I wonder if women recruiting other women somehow made it seem less icky and that they could label it "female empowerment" because it was women recruiting other women? So many questions!

Part of me thinks that he liked Allison because she looks younger than she is. And while they all had voids, she may have had much lower self esteem. A lot of those actors do. Keith may have realized that his relationship with Mark was more profitable than risking his anger with adultry of his wife. 

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19 hours ago, Catfi9ht said:

Maybe 2020 and white privilege has left me unsympathetic with the plight of rich white women. I'm not sure. I checked out as soon as they gave India's background.

I'm right there with you. The only thing that keeps me coming back is that I'm fascinated by the psychology behind everything.

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I guess tonight answered the question about what was filmed as it happened and what was a reenaction as they actually had a "Reenaction" title over part of it tonight.  

Too bad they couldn't get the former legal liaison on camera (or maybe they do later) because I bet she knows things.  

Next week looks like it'll be really good when they talk to the woman who was the first defector.  I think it'll start to go deeper into the dark underbelly of this whole thing.

I had to laugh at Mark trying to breeze by the fact that he was a co-founder of "The Knife" which was set up to expose media bias...i.e. discredit factual information being published in the news about Keith in the cult.  At first I was all "whatever" about it until I saw that they got national attention and Keith's coverage wasn't the only coverage they were examining.  

His hair in the past, though.  I had no words. 

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Too much Mark.

So Lauren has”been with” Keith 18 years. I wonder what her mother actually thinks about that? Is her mother a true believer or does she know it’s all a scam?

I thought they would dress better to meet the Dalai Lama. Keith looked dirty and unkept.

Still wondering why Nippy wants to be called that. This episode did make me sympathize more with Sarah.

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I was hoping at one point in Sarah's phone call to the lawyer guy she might have mentioned the sex trafficking going on as a reason for closing up the Vancouver arm of the cult but ... nope! Not a word. I think she was shitting in her pants because of the legal action that was to be taken against her. Because I get the distinct feeling that that she was more concerned with that than women being used as sex slaves. 

I don't like any of these people. I think they were insufferable egomaniacs long before NXVIUM ("I can't spell that!" -- Catherine Oxenberg.) And I'm getting fed up with the POV of all of them as crusading heroes. Also...the phone calls. SO. MANY. PHONE. CALLS. 

I did have a laugh at Clare Bronfman's eyeglasses though. For all of her millions, it sure appeared that she plucked those things from the dusty "Insurance-covered-frames" rack at the optometrist's office.

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Clare's description about how she first joined the group had me shaking my head and laughing ("I was a professional showjumper living in Holland and Keith was coaching me for Olympic trials where I did really well and came in twelfth place, so when I moved back to the United States I moved to Albany and bought a farm"). Keith must have been salivating at how much money he was going to get from someone like that.

I find everything that Keith did gross, but when the woman who left told Sarah that Lauren had been sleeping with Keith for almost twenty years and that he had her on the hook by promising her a baby every six months, I was so disgusted. I know I can't expect any kind of honesty from him, but to dangle that in front of a girl who's in love with you for YEARS is just cruel. I don't understand why people who are in relationships (both romantic and platonic) can't just be honest about shit like that and say, "Look, I have no interest in having kids." I mean, I know why Keith lied - he was just using that to keep her around because he enjoyed manipulating people - but it always makes me mad when people aren't upfront about big things like that. It's really not fair to the other person to keep thinking that this thing that they want is just around the corner.

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This episode showed the nasty, litigious nature of the group, a la Scientology. Hats off to the people who talked over the years in spite of the nasty threats against them. I would be on pins and needles waiting for the New York Times to decide if they wanted to do the expose or not. That clearly caused a lot of stress. 

Spoiler

I wonder what changed their mind for the paper to go ahead and publish the story?

I was confused about the meeting with the Dalai Lama. He seemed both open to going ahead with the official visit because of the way the Chinese treated him and pissed or annoyed that they came to see him to beg for the official meeting

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2 minutes ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

Clare's description about how she first joined the group had me shaking my head and laughing ("I was a professional showjumper living in Holland and Keith was coaching me for Olympic trials where I did really well and came in twelfth place, so when I moved back to the United States I moved to Albany and bought a farm"). Keith must have been salivating at how much money he was going to get from someone like that.

I find everything that Keith did gross, but when the woman who left told Sarah that Lauren had been sleeping with Keith for almost twenty years and that he had her on the hook by promising her a baby every six months, I was so disgusted. I know I can't expect any kind of honesty from him, but to dangle that in front of a girl who's in love with you for YEARS is just cruel. I don't understand why people who are in relationships (both romantic and platonic) can't just be honest about shit like that and say, "Look, I have no interest in having kids." I mean, I know why Keith lied - he was just using that to keep her around because he enjoyed manipulating people - but it always makes me mad when people aren't upfront about big things like that. It's really not fair to the other person to keep thinking that this thing that they want is just around the corner.

I don't think it's really accurate to say that Lauren and Keith were in a relationship.  I think Lauren may have been in a relationship with him (at least in her mind), I think he was just sleeping with her.  The baby thing is not just a sign of typical, more average, unhealthy relationship, it's another example of the manipulation Keith used.  I'm not sure it had anything to do with Keith wanting or not wanting children, it was just another way to control Lauren and that's probably what Keith get off most on, having control over people...Especially women.  Everything about DOS was just a way to control these women for him and fulfill whatever sick need he had to do it.  Apparently he even convinced some of them that him sleeping with multiple women was to help them get over their jealously.  Basically he was doing them a favor by sleeping with multiple people, what a selfless guy.

From some of the outside things I read, most people in NXVIUM (And I'm with Catherine I have trouble spelling that stupid word every time), thought that Keith was pretty celibate after Cafritz died.  This was patently untrue.  Apparently he has said he is polyamorus, which is completely fine if you are being ethically nonmonogamous.  But despite throwing that word around a lot, I don't think he knows the meaning of the word ethical.  I've also read that he got off on being approached or "seduced" by these women.  Which explains why this was an "exercise" that was assigned to the women in DOS.  It also makes me wonder if Mack was told he liked women to be forward with him prior to meeting him, and why she was so seemingly inappropriate with the "Pop my cherry," comment.

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13 hours ago, Door County Cherry said:

I had to laugh at Mark trying to breeze by the fact that he was a co-founder of "The Knife" which was set up to expose media bias...i.e. discredit factual information being published in the news about Keith in the cult.  At first I was all "whatever" about it until I saw that they got national attention and Keith's coverage wasn't the only coverage they were examining.  

His hair in the past, though.  I had no words. 

Yeah, couldn't help but remember how earlier he was talking about how their work was so important because it would keep people like Trump from being elected, and then here they are going on Fox claiming that the media's biased against him because they can't describe anything he's doing without making it sound bad (unlike on Fox, where he's presumably objectively a great hero).

You'd think that would be one of those moments when Mark got a clue that the guy's a liar with no real principles here. I did like how he managed to make that rich woman feel like she needed make up for his bad press with a conspiracy theory about her father. Jeez. Also, I'm not India's mother who feels bad for her so as far as I'm concerned she's just another terrible person getting off on being head slave.

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10 hours ago, Proclone said:

I don't think it's really accurate to say that Lauren and Keith were in a relationship.  I think Lauren may have been in a relationship with him (at least in her mind), I think he was just sleeping with her.  The baby thing is not just a sign of typical, more average, unhealthy relationship, it's another example of the manipulation Keith used.  I'm not sure it had anything to do with Keith wanting or not wanting children, it was just another way to control Lauren and that's probably what Keith get off most on, having control over people...Especially women.  Everything about DOS was just a way to control these women for him and fulfill whatever sick need he had to do it.  Apparently he even convinced some of them that him sleeping with multiple women was to help them get over their jealously.  Basically he was doing them a favor by sleeping with multiple people, what a selfless guy.

Even if they weren't in what most people would consider a traditional relationship, they saw each other on probably a daily (or at least weekly) basis for NXIVM stuff and were sleeping together for 17-18 years so I'm guessing that Lauren thought it was a relationship and he was giving her the impression that it was as well. As I said in my previous post, he was obviously doing it to manipulate her and she kept thinking that she was going to get what she wanted (a baby) if she just hung in a little bit longer. That's what manipulators do - they dangle that carrot so you think what you want is just around the corner.

On 9/19/2020 at 12:51 AM, MakingBacon said:

How did she get into Berkeley? It is an extremely hard school to gain admittance to so this is weird. I wonder if she was previously a student there before she became an actress and then just re-enrolled. 

I don't think she was enrolled at Cal previously. She was a series regular on Smallville for the first nine seasons (2001-2010). She was 19 when she started Smallville and she was 28 when she joined NXIVM around 2010. I don't think she had time to be flying out to California to take classes in between worshipping at the altar of Keith in Albany.

While UC campuses are very competitive, someone like Allison (who is now 38) is considered a non-traditional student and can be given a lot more leeway during the admissions process. The article said she took a summer school class and if I recall correctly, many colleges allow non-students (meaning people who didn't apply for regular full time admission) to enroll in summer school classes.

On top of that, most universities are now quietly freaking out because of all the COVID related changes that have been made. Some college students requested refunds because they didn't have in person classes for half of the spring semester (UC Berkeley shut down in mid-March and switched to online instruction). The schools knew they were at risk for decreased enrollment (many students are opting to take online courses at community college for the 20-21 school year because it's significantly less expensive than taking the same online courses at their universities), which means decreased revenue due to less students paying for tuition, housing, meal plans, etc. For that reason, I'm sure they were happy to let Allison or anyone else willing to pay $$$ into their classes right now.

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I didn't get the impression of any kind of win for Keith from the Dalai Lama. It even seemed like the Dalai Lama was making fun of them by comparing their "bad press" to repression by the Chinese government. It's more likely that they were completely rejected, and Keith just told the others that they got a "win", and maybe Mark just kept on believing that. Unless I'm missing something and the Dalai Lama actually ended up visiting/endorsing them?

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18 minutes ago, PotterOtherP said:

I didn't get the impression of any kind of win for Keith from the Dalai Lama. It even seemed like the Dalai Lama was making fun of them by comparing their "bad press" to repression by the Chinese government. It's more likely that they were completely rejected, and Keith just told the others that they got a "win", and maybe Mark just kept on believing that. Unless I'm missing something and the Dalai Lama actually ended up visiting/endorsing them?

We know the Dalai Lama visited at some point, but I was very confused as to whether they were trying to invite him back for a second visit and were thwarted, or if that was all leading up to his first visit. Either way it was cringeworthy.

I know there are people who don't care for Sarah, but I have to give her (as well as Nippy, Mark, and Bonnie) props for being willing to go on the record. She hit the nail on the head about being more "ethical" at that moment than she ever was in the cult.

3 hours ago, sistermagpie said:

Also, I'm not India's mother who feels bad for her so as far as I'm concerned she's just another terrible person getting off on being head slave.

I'm wondering if those statements Catherine made about her daughter's culpability are why she hasn't really spoken about the documentary.

ETA: This article seems to imply that it was the event in 2009 that was canceled, then re-instated after the visit we saw on the show.

Edited by pigs-in-space

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37 minutes ago, pigs-in-space said:

We know the Dalai Lama visited at some point, but I was very confused as to whether they were trying to invite him back for a second visit and were thwarted, or if that was all leading up to his first visit. Either way it was cringeworthy.

ETA: This article seems to imply that it was the event in 2009 that was canceled, then re-instated after the visit we saw on the show.

I believe he just visited them the one time and as the article you linked kind of hints at the reason he came didn't really have anything to do with Keith's pleading his case to Dalai Lama in person but rather because (under spoiler just in case they talk about it in the doc)

Spoiler

Sara Bronfman was sleeping with one of the Dalai Lama's aids.  He was probably the one responsible for the Dalai Lama changing his mind and visiting Albany.  I doubt it had much to do with anything Keith said.

The whole visit was so cringey that I was physically uncomfortable watching it in some parts.  And I laughed out loud when Keith said he wanted to use his techniques to help solve the problems in Tibet and China.  I wonder how much Keith actually believed his own BS?  How far does one's head have to be up your own ass to think your self help BS is going solve the conflict in that region?  Why not get moving on middle east peace while you're at it Keith?

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42 minutes ago, Proclone said:

I believe he just visited them the one time and as the article you linked kind of hints at the reason he came didn't really have anything to do with Keith's pleading his case to Dalai Lama in person but rather because (under spoiler just in case they talk about it in the doc)

  Hide contents

Sara Bronfman was sleeping with one of the Dalai Lama's aids.  He was probably the one responsible for the Dalai Lama changing his mind and visiting Albany.  I doubt it had much to do with anything Keith said.

The whole visit was so cringey that I was physically uncomfortable watching it in some parts.  And I laughed out loud when Keith said he wanted to use his techniques to help solve the problems in Tibet and China.  I wonder how much Keith actually believed his own BS?  How far does one's head have to be up your own ass to think your self help BS is going solve the conflict in that region?  Why not get moving on middle east peace while you're at it Keith?

Also, what exactly is he working on NOW instead of that? He's supposed to be able to change the world and all, right? 

My favorite moment was when Keith was with that woman who left and he was blathering on about feelings in her stomach and she was like, "You're just not going to let me finish reading this report, are you? Can you stop?" And he had to play it out with "Not only can I stop, but I will!" like he was still being the guru. You can see why she felt in danger. Once you realize you're listening to nonsense from a putz it must be sooo hard to not just tell him to STFU whenever he starts up, and of course part of being a cult leader is blathering on and on to people all day long to wear them down. Maybe you're stomach feels more intense now. Or maybe it doesn't. But it could be. I'm right either way...

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This episode was a bit frustrating cuz it was mostly re-enactments of phone calls. What exactly is NEXIVM suing the former members for? Slander? Were contracts signed? If so, what did the contracts stipulate? I agree Sarah mostly seemed concerned about her consequences. And is still not wanting her collateral to come out. In multiple calls, she kept saying how she tried to slip out ~no muss, no fuss. And how she never wanted it to come to this, and never wanted to shut down the Vancouver office. I think Nippy flipping the fuck out at her being branded was her main reason for her getting out. 

In many of his re-enactments, Mark is wringing his hands and holding his head, but he is no Mike Rinder, who fully admits in detail everything he did as a top Scientologist, suffers full Scientology wrath, and owns his responsibility. Rinder looks physically ill and breaks into tears when he and Leah Remini interview Scientology victims. (And he is a stoic guy.) Mark seems more, I don't know, actorly. 

Edited by TVbitch
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45 minutes ago, Proclone said:

And I laughed out loud when Keith said he wanted to use his techniques to help solve the problems in Tibet and China.  I wonder how much Keith actually believed his own BS?  How far does one's head have to be up your own ass to think your self help BS is going solve the conflict in that region?  Why not get moving on middle east peace while you're at it Keith?

Isn't their "techniques" basically bad hypnotism and brain washing? For such a big "humanitarian" and one of the most "ethical" (I still don't think he understands the meaning of that word) people in the world, he doesn't do jack shit. None of them do! 

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33 minutes ago, mamadrama said:

My mom watched 10 minutes of this and then said, "These women are pissing me off" and flounced out of the room.

LOL....my Mom would have said the same if she was still with us....I am officially hate watching this now

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17 hours ago, Giant Misfit said:

I don't like any of these people. I think they were insufferable egomaniacs long before NXVIUM ("I can't spell that!" -- Catherine Oxenberg.) And I'm getting fed up with the POV of all of them as crusading heroes. Also...the phone calls. SO. MANY. PHONE. CALLS. 

So far what I've come away with is that Sarah's still got a bit of a hard on for some of this shit; Allison, Nancy, and India are getting away with WAY too much shit for their roles in this; the Seagram women either have more money than sense or have been sampling too much of their products; Lauren was running one of the best cons ever (got me wondering if I can start charging my BFF $375 every time we have a convo); Mark's two seconds away from joining the next cult that sashays by him; despite having a stupid nickname Nippy's one of the smartest of the lot, and Bonnie is too good for any of them. 

Edited by mamadrama
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Honestly, I'd have never made it to the branding. I'd have noped out the moment someone told me that I had to sit up all night watching a middle-aged man playing volleyball in a 1985 sweatband. And the moment I told my husband that things are going REALLY badly and he responded with "I need more data, my boo" that would've been the end of my marriage.

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It was actually interesting to see Keith's response to the Dalai Lama and Kristen Keeffe. As deluded as he is, Keith knew it was a big deal to meet with the Dalai Lama, although his delusion still compelled him to kick off the meeting discussing his persecution. During the Kristen Keeffe segment, my husband and I were looking at each other like "what the fuck is he even saying????" and then when she basically told him he needed to shut it down, it seemed like he couldn't believe that someone - a woman, no less - was not buying his bullshit. So, even though she put me off in her documentary talking head, getting all thrilled over their scorched earth policy, I kind of liked Kristen for just telling Keith to shut it.

I am not exactly sure exactly what NXIVM could do to people who leave the organization. I understand that there may have been some sort of legal action against Sarah for shutting down one of the business's profit centers, but really, otherwise, if you leave, you leave. Maybe there's some slander that's a possibility? But unless there are signed contracts or something, what can NXIVM do, legally? I understand that's vastly different from harassment, but I don't get Mark's legal fears.

I am tired of them presenting themselves as heroes. I feel bad that they had issues that resulted in giving so much control in their personal lives to a fraud, however, they not only (apparently) made a handsome living in the organization, but they brought other people into what is an obvious pyramid scheme. So when they all talked about the sacrifice of going on the record I was thinking "oh hell yes, you go on the record!" It is the least they can do to start to rectify the situation for the people they brought into this house of cards.

And I don't know why, but Sarah and Mark especially bug me. I just don't find them really sincere, or something - I can't put my finger on it, but they both seem off to me.

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I still can’t fully sympathize with Sarah.  I feel like she had regrets only after she realized that Nippy would be mad, that she came to understand that she had been used, and maybe because she wasn’t part of things to begin with.  Didn’t she mention something about being ok with having sex with Keith?  If saying terrible lies about your spouse and how he treats your child or even the concept of “collateral” aren’t enough to make you question things, I’m not sure what is.  

I also can’t figure out exactly when Mark is done and he’s just filming for more evidence.  The line is blurred for me.  Makes me appreciate Nippy’s attitude more.

I don’t know how to feel about Allison Mack being enrolled for and then kicked out of classes.  Is she going through some kind of rehabilitation?  On the one hand, I don’t think anyone should be denied an education, but should it be reserved for people who did not have privilege, which contributed to leading them down the wrong path to begin with? I don’t know.  
 

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I have more sympathy for Sarah than most people here it seems. To a certain degree they are of course all culpable and have a lot to answer for. And I agree that none should really be presented as "heroes" (the fault of the filmmakers). But when I first heard about this case, it was Sarah Edmondson's name that came along with it. She went on the record. She told (and showed) everyone what they did to her (which is worse than what was done to Mark, Bonnie, Catherine Oxenberg, or anyone else featured in the documentary so far, and which must have been terribly difficult). I give her (and her husband) an immense amount of credit for that. She rubs me the wrong way too but she did more to take down this shit show than pretty much anyone else.

2 hours ago, mamadrama said:

So far what I've come away with is that Sarah's still got a bit of a hard on for some of this shit; Allison, Nancy, and India are getting away with WAY too much shit for their roles in this

THIS.

If Allison Mack, Nicki Clyne, the Salzmans, the Bronfmans et al. are not raked over the coals, and their roles in this vile trainwreck of an "organization" not utterly and totally exposed by the end of this, the filmmakers will have completely failed. None of them are victims in the slightest. They should be in prison with Raniere.

Edited by pfk505
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This episode was a snoozer. The documentary makers really needed to tighten up the whole series by half. The endless meetings and recorded phone calls are so repetitive. It's been driven home that women were branded. I don't need to see the brand 100 times or watch Sarah scroll through 50 shots of the brand on her phone's camera roll.

To me, this really has become just another story of narcissistic, wealthy white people chasing "fame". Sarah's never going to stop trying to stay "relevant" from this.

I can't get past people making Keith a "guru" and some kind of self-appointed sex god or whatever. He's a schlumpy, creepy, little troll in Dockers or too-short shorts. I just keep thinking "Him?" when I see him on screen. He's so creepy and weird and he can't even sit upright on a couch.

Edited by bilgistic
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So much of this feels like Scientology-lite, and the players are acting all self important like this big powerful organization is after them, but it doesn’t actually seem like anyone is. At least in the Scientology documentaries you get members harassing the filmmakers while they film back, and their legal team’s ultra petty statements regarding any member who defects. With NXIVM you have Mark and Bonnie going off the grid to hide from Keith’s “100 man army”’and a cease and desist letter from NXIVM Mexico. Sarah and Nippy are the only ones that have any real stakes in speaking out because of the looming collateral they have over her.

Will be interested to see the woman who first spoke out’s side of things.  

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3 hours ago, Maysie said:

I am not exactly sure exactly what NXIVM could do to people who leave the organization. I understand that there may have been some sort of legal action against Sarah for shutting down one of the business's profit centers, but really, otherwise, if you leave, you leave. Maybe there's some slander that's a possibility? But unless there are signed contracts or something, what can NXIVM do, legally? I understand that's vastly different from harassment, but I don't get Mark's legal fears.

They go the frivolous lawsuit route, I think. Even if the suits have no merit they can tie people up in the courts for years and cost a lot of money, time, and stress. It happened to some previous members but they’ve barely scratched the surface of it. Hopefully they’ll get more into it in the next episode.

The CBC podcast focused on Sarah also interviews a few women that NXIVM targeted.

2 hours ago, pfk505 said:

I have more sympathy for Sarah than most people here it seems. To a certain degree they are of course all culpable and have a lot to answer for. And I agree that none should really be presented as "heroes" (the fault of the filmmakers). But when I first heard about this case, it was Sarah Edmondson's name that came along with it. She went on the record. She told (and showed) everyone what they did to her (which is worse than what was done to Mark, Bonnie, Catherine Oxenberg, or anyone else featured in the documentary so far, and which must have been terribly difficult). I give her (and her husband) an immense amount of credit for that. She rubs me the wrong way too but she did more to take down this shit show than pretty much anyone else.

Same! I honestly don’t care much what her reasons are. They’re probably a mix of both altruistic and self-serving. But she’s been open about what she did and where her culpability lies, and I think that’s genuine. 

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This reminds me a bit of the Fyre Festival. Billy McFarland may have been the one to go to prison, but he wasn't the only guilty person. Others knew what was going on. Likewise, I feel that something isn't quite translating to the screen. I can't see the charisma nor the greatness that people describe Keith and Billy as having. 

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10 hours ago, pfk505 said:

I have more sympathy for Sarah than most people here it seems. To a certain degree they are of course all culpable and have a lot to answer for. And I agree that none should really be presented as "heroes" (the fault of the filmmakers). But when I first heard about this case, it was Sarah Edmondson's name that came along with it. She went on the record. She told (and showed) everyone what they did to her (which is worse than what was done to Mark, Bonnie, Catherine Oxenberg, or anyone else featured in the documentary so far, and which must have been terribly difficult). I give her (and her husband) an immense amount of credit for that. She rubs me the wrong way too but she did more to take down this shit show than pretty much anyone else.

I understand what you're saying, and agree to an extent, but she willingly gave the collateral and actually fabricated some of it. And I wonder how out she'd be if she had been one of Keith's chosen, or if she'd risen to Master level. I mean, she willingly became a slave; I think just about anyone who crosses that line will make the next jump to Master.

 

9 hours ago, bilgistic said:

This episode was a snoozer. The documentary makers really needed to tighten up the whole series by half. The endless meetings and recorded phone calls are so repetitive. It's been driven home that women were branded. I don't need to see the brand 100 times or watch Sarah scroll through 50 shots of the brand on her phone's camera roll.

You aren't kidding. This thing is all over the map, and I think that also is affecting how I feel about the people involved. There doesn't seem to be a cohesive story, other than Keith is a magical svengali who had women enslaved and branded. I still don't really understand how that happens. And how about the money laundering? Will we get anything about the finances on this? And the timeline is really confusing for me as well - I can't tell when people got in, got wise and got out. For an HBO documentary, this is shabby.

And all of those brand photos on Sarah's phone...I hope she's in therapy to deal with that (I'm not being sarcastic) because she's really fixated on that brand. I sense that it's a literal scar of her victimization and maybe by hanging onto that she is able to rationalize some of what she did (all the people she recruited; making up collateral about her husband, etc). But for the sake of your mental health and your family, you have to move on, eventually. Keeping dozens of photos of the mark that is literally on your body doesn't seem to be good mental health.

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Rinder looks physically ill and breaks into tears when he and Leah Remini interview Scientology victims. (And he is a stoic guy.) Mark seems more, I don't know, actorly. 

With respect Rinder did way worse shit than Mark. Mark was drunk on the cool aid. Rinder knew it was deadly sham and stayed in for years and did a LOT of fucked up shit in the name of his boss (IIRC Rinder covered for a lot of the sweat treatments that killed people). Mark left when he heard about DOS. Listen Mark is ALSO putz, who had a hand in people being harmed, but he was true believer putz. I think there is a difference. 

But also Scientology is a much much much more successful cult than NVXIUM, they make millions if not billions off all their dupes, and it's much more hardcore about it's blackmail which starts from the get. Collateral was part of ESP but not until they were already in deep. Scientology makes you hold the CANS OF TRUTH immediately and starts taping those conversations where you reveal every bad thing you ever did or thought. I feel like EM's which are equivalent to auditing seems like something you've done when you've already bought in lock/stock based purely on quotes at least 10 grand in. You have to be audited right away and constantly in Scientology. There is no audit if you want to, the EM's appear to be much more autonomous, if highly pressured.

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25 minutes ago, Maysie said:

I understand what you're saying, and agree to an extent, but she willingly gave the collateral and actually fabricated some of it. And I wonder how out she'd be if she had been one of Keith's chosen, or if she'd risen to Master level. I mean, she willingly became a slave; I think just about anyone who crosses that line will make the next jump to Master.

She was a "master" (ick), albeit briefly. I think she had one or two "slaves" under her, and Lauren was pushing her to keep recruiting more by sending her pictures of attractive people from the Vancouver center facebook page. So she could have easily started to abuse the system herself, but she didn't as far as we're aware.

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 Sarah and Nippy are the only ones that have any real stakes in speaking out because of the looming collateral they have over her.

 

I don't know that that is true, I think people like Bonnie/Mark for sure gave collateral, it's just that Keith's euphemistic definition of that (basically proof of commitment I'd call that the thousands of dollars they handed him, but what do I know)  I'm not sure what that collateral was for those outside DOS. Aka not sure it's the same type of blackmail fuel, but I'd assume someone as high up as Mark has confessed things he doesn't want the whole world to know.

 

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So she could have easily started to abuse the system herself, but she didn't as far as we're aware.


Yeah I'll stay judging her for the things she actually did, not all the stuff she might have done in some alternate time line. And in this one she pushed back, left the cult and went public, I don't much care if it's altruism or self interest that led her to that path, but I'm really glad it did, because now Keith is in jail.
 

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59 minutes ago, blixie said:

I don't know that that is true, I think people like Bonnie/Mark for sure gave collateral, it's just that Keith's euphemistic definition of that (basically proof of commitment I'd call that the thousands of dollars they handed him, but what do I know)  I'm not sure what that collateral was for those outside DOS. Aka not sure it's the same type of blackmail fuel, but I'd assume someone as high up as Mark has confessed things he doesn't want the whole world to know.

 


Yeah I'll stay judging her for the things she actually did, not all the stuff she might have done in some alternate time line. And in this one she pushed back, left the cult and went public, I don't much care if it's altruism or self interest that led her to that path, but I'm really glad it did, because now Keith is in jail.
 

My feelings towards Sarah are mixed: I feel bad for the victim part (because she was) while also side eyeing the perpetrator side (because she was that, too). I don't think it has to be either/or. 

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On 9/20/2020 at 10:41 PM, Door County Cherry said:

guess tonight answered the question about what was filmed as it happened and what was a reenaction as they actually had a "Reenaction" title over part of it tonight.  

I missed that, do you remember which part?

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2 hours ago, LeGrandElephant said:

I missed that, do you remember which part?

I don't remember the exact time but it was in the second half of the show.  It was Mark taking phone calls.  I think it might have been related to trying to contact other people to cover their story.  There was a blue background behind him and the words "Reenaction" in the upper left hand side of the screen.

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3 hours ago, LeGrandElephant said:

I missed that, do you remember which part?

There was also a lot of naked parts in the background, shot in red and blue, etc. It was such an odd choice; I remember commenting "okay, it's a re-enactment, but why do we have to see naked ladies?"

The more I think about this last episode, the more I feel it's done a disservice to the story. I felt like it started strong - I was really interested in it. However, we have about four episodes left (right?) and I have no idea of the timeline we're in and how things really unfolded. I end up with more questions than answers as things go on, and I don't think that's necessarily a good thing.

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51 minutes ago, Maysie said:

There was also a lot of naked parts in the background, shot in red and blue, etc. It was such an odd choice; I remember commenting "okay, it's a re-enactment, but why do we have to see naked ladies?"

Amen to this. Since Keith considers himself such a sex god, why didn't they show him naked?

Not that anyone wants to see that, but in a "documentary" focusing particularly on women being victimized mentally, emotionally and sexually, it was pretty gross to show (anonymous/neck-down) naked female bodies.

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11 hours ago, Maysie said:

And all of those brand photos on Sarah's phone...I hope she's in therapy to deal with that (I'm not being sarcastic) because she's really fixated on that brand. 

There were so many photos I briefly thought she did a Google image search and that was the results.

I don't think this is a good documentary (the editing seems particularly bad and makes the timeline more confusing) but I am interested in the topic and the ridiculous amount of footage they have of this group. Plus, I was a Smallville fan back in the day and have my own pic with Allison from a con. 

Mostly, this clip from Bad Times at the El Royale comes to mind every time they show KR where Cynthia Erivo's character responds to Chris Hemsworth's Manson-type cult leader. "A fragile little man preying on the weak and lost," and, to paraphrase, 'a man who talks so much he thinks he believes in something but really he just wants to fuck who he wants to fuck.' Sounds like Keith!

 

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I would think Sarah must have shown her collateral to her family and admitted her wrongdoing, as she generally doesn’t seem that worried about it. If she didn’t it is what she should have done, as the truth would provide her some freedom. I don’t see why she would worry about naked pictures, much of Hollywood has that kind of stuff released and lets not forget a sex tape pretty much started the whole Kardasian thing.

TVBitch mentioned Mike Rinder. I think that is a good comparison to these folks as none of them have the remorse of Mike. Despite how stoic Mike is you can see he recognizes his involvement and feels very bad about it. He admits blame and accepts responsibility in a way no one on this show does.

I do give these folks credit for going public, they helped bring Nxivm down. What is missing is where they take personal responsibility for selling people into something where people spent money they may not have had. IDK, I don’t respect people who work in mlm either, regardless of where they are in the pyramid. Both Nxivm and MLMs get people to invest in crap they cannot afford and that is so unethical. You know there were sales pitches that guilted people into buying into the program. No different than the early Scientology stuff. Sure there isn’t the Sea Org and there doesn’t seem to be children involved but if it continued I would bet Nxivm would have eventually started something for kids. With how much time people spent on this Nxivm stuff they probably weren’t seeing their kids a lot and a daycare with “educational” programs designed by Keith could have been a fee grab and a way to groom kids.

They all do say things like “I got them into this, I have to get them out” and I guess to me they just don’t seem believable when they say it. Mark barely admitted to running/creating The Knife.

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On 9/21/2020 at 5:58 AM, ElectricBoogaloo said:

Clare's description about how she first joined the group had me shaking my head and laughing ("I was a professional showjumper living in Holland and Keith was coaching me for Olympic trials where I did really well and came in twelfth place, so when I moved back to the United States I moved to Albany and bought a farm"). Keith must have been salivating at how much money he was going to get from someone like that.

Has there ever been a more pretentious sentence? I’ve been rewatching Fraser and I swear that’s one of the ways they would describe Maris.

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I found this episode(episode 5) extremely tedious. It took my two tries to get through it without falling asleep. I get they were in a precarious position with trying to get their stories published in the NYT, but it was just endless footage of people on the phone. This series is taking an awfully long time to get where it's going. I will keep watching because I find the psychology riveting, but man, let's move things along please.

I felt sooo much second hand embarrassment for the Dalai Lama. Watching him listen while creepy obsequious little Keith tried to plead his case was pure cringe. Yuck. His Holiness and his crew should've trusted their first instincts and stayed the hell away.

1 hour ago, pigs-in-space said:

Has there ever been a more pretentious sentence? I’ve been rewatching Fraser and I swear that’s one of the ways they would describe Maris.

I'm still laughing at this! Thanks for making my night @pigs-in-space!

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I will say that Sarah and Nippy's little son is absolutely adorable and I hope for his sake, his parents straighten out their lives.  That's the only positive I got from this episode 🙂

I did like Kristen Keefe's calling Keith out on his ridiculous word salad and basically telling him to shut up which he didn't not like.  At all.  I hope we get more of a face to face interview with her because she definitely has more insight on the legal end of things which Mark, Sarah and their other friends seem to fear.  I also find it sad that Lauren stayed in a sexual relationship with Raniere for over fifteen years because he kept promising her that she could have his baby--that's pretty sick.

I know I'm tired of Catherine Oxenberg's acting as if she alone is facing off with Keith and that she alone can save India--I watched the dreadful Lifetime movie based on her book and according to it, she apparently she single-handedly brought the cult to it's knees, beat him in hand to hand combat and arrested him herself 🙂  I kid but I do get the sense that Catherine thinks she has more star power then she does while it was actually Sarah's showing her branding mark that was really the hook that sold the story.

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R: Mack going to college; while I feel that she should be punished for what she did to the full extent of the law, and I do think that women who attend her classes should be protected from being triggered by her presence, if ANYONE desperately  needs lessons in developing her critical faculties, it's her.

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