Allison Mack admitted that branding Nxivm ‘slaves’ was her idea in a newly-released interview which she participated in months before being arrested on suspicion of sex trafficking.
The Smallville actress’s statement emerged on Wednesday in a New York Times Magazine feature which also includes remarks by the cult’s leader, Keith Raniere.
The interviews took place in winter, before the pair were arrested but in the midst of a growing FBI investigation into their alleged treatment of the ‘slaves’ – women who joined the ‘cult’ after being recruited by Mack or other female members, allegedly for the purposes of having sex with Raniere under the guise of improving themselves.
As part of her research, New York Times Magazine reporter Vanessa Grigoriadis visited Mack at her Brooklyn apartment where the actress told her candidly: ‘I was like: “Y’all, a tattoo? People get drunk and tattooed on their ankle “BFF,” or a tramp stamp. I have two tattoos and they mean nothing.”‘
Allison Mack (seen arriving in court in Brooklyn on May 4) admitted in an interview several months ago that branding members of Nxivm, an alleged sex slave cult which she is accused of operating in part, was her idea
A former member of the cult shows off the brand which she received. It was carved into her skin with a cauterizing pen. The logo is ambiguous but many say it includes leader Keith Raniere’s initials
She was referring to the flesh burning brands given to female ‘slaves’ after they join which many say include the letters KR, the cult leader’s initials.
In her article, Grigoriadis said Mack’s admission ‘surprised her’.
During their interview, Mack also revealed that she joined the group because she was frustrated with her acting career.
‘I was like: “Y’all, a tattoo? People get drunk and tattooed on their ankle “BFF,” or a tramp stamp. I have two tattoos and they mean nothing.”‘
Mack, 35, is now on house arrest at her parents’ home in California. She was arrested in April.
She is only allowed to travel to attend court hearings back in New York and, it was revealed on Wednesday, she must wear an ankle monitor during flights to ensure she does not attempt to flee.
She is accused of trafficking the women by recruiting them to have sex with Raniere.
Among the allegations is that she would send ‘collateral’ provided by the women to prove their loyalty to the group to Raniere despite claiming that it would only be seen by her.
Prosecutors allege that Mack and other ‘masters’ deprived the women of food because, they claimed, Raniere has a sexual preference for thin women.
Another allegation is that she set up a slave to go for a walk with Raniere.
Keith Raniere, the leader of the cult, was also interviewed. He is pictured in January 2017. Raniere now faces life imprisonment if convicted of sex trafficking charges
It is not clear if the alleged incident took place at Clifton Park, the organization’s HQ near Albany, New York, where Raniere allegedly kept a sex lair and Mack is said to have housed ‘slaves’.
The woman was taken by him to what she thought was a shed and was blindfolded and bound to a table where, prosecutors alleged, another person performed oral sex on her.
Raniere has vehemently denied the allegations that any sexual interaction was non consensual.
He has vowed to fight all of the charges against him which, if he is convicted, will put him away for life.
Mack has been less vocal in her response to the legal situation. As a condition of her $5million bail, Mack agreed to cut all ties with Raniere.
In her interview, she explained the hierarchy of the organization and gave an alternative explanation for the ‘starving’ slaves allegation.
Much of the alleged abuse went on at Nxivm’s compound in Clifton Park, New York (shown above)
‘The woman who invited you to the group was your master or ‘the representation of your conscience, your higher self, your most ideal. Masters would help slaves count calories to save them from the trap of emotional eating.
‘They would dictate an act of ‘self-denial’ like cold showers or rousing yourself from bed at 4am to stand still. Slaves were told to ‘do acts of care’ for masters like bring them coffee or abstain from orgasms,’ Grigoriadis wrote, citing the actress’s advice.
It’s quite a point in life for me. I question my values, how I conduct myself, all of these things. I don’t think I’m seen as the person I think I am. I also want to be the person that I think I am.
Mack said her participation in the cult helped her ‘find her spine’.
‘I found my spine, I just kept solidifying my spine every time I would do something hard.
‘[It was] about women coming together and pledging to one another a full-time commitment to become our most powerful and embodied selves by pushing on our greatest fears, by exposing our greatest vulnerabilities, by knowing that we would stand with each other no matter what, by holding or word, by overcoming pain,’ she said.
She has not yet revealed whether she will plead guilty or not to the charges against her.
Other members include the actress India Oxenberg who said she joined the group because she was ‘repulsed’ by her famous family. She is pictured in New York City on April 23. Oxenberg, insiders said, was prepared to take the fall for Raniere and say that all of the sexual incidents were consensual in order to keep him out of jail
Raniere agreed to be interviewed but only after being ‘introduced’ by female members of the cult.
He told the journalist that he was a child genius who could speak in full sentences aged one and read at two.
Why can’t I just be in the same room with my family who I love but at the same time I want to crawl out of my skin and run away?
Raniere claimed he became his cancer-stricken mother’s ‘sole caregiver’ aged 8 when his parents divorced and revealed that she died when he was 18.
Before Nxivm, he was at the helm of a discounted grocery subscription service which shut down in 1997 amid accusations it operating as a pyramid scheme. He denied those allegations.
Explaining his attraction to the cult, which he viewed as a ‘scheme’ for women to become independent and empower themselves, he said: ‘I’m like a nerd who has read too much, only I’ve thought too much.’
Throughout his interview, he broke down into tears several times and said: ‘It’s quite a point in life for me. I question my values, how I conduct myself, all of these things.
‘I don’t think I’m seen as the person I think I am. I also want to be the person that I think I am.’
Others interviewed for the piece published on Wednesday include India Oxenberg, the daughter of Dynasty star Catherine Oxygen who has made numerous public pleas for her to come home to her and ditch the group which she believes has ‘brainwashed’ her daughter.
Billionaire heiress sisters Sara and Clare Bronfman (pictured) are other members of the group. Neither has been arrested. They are believed to have propped it up with donations
India, who was been seen in New York City working at a vegan cafe since Raniere and Mack’s arrests, claimed that she joined the group because she was ‘repulsed’ by her famous family and wanted to correct herself.
Journalist Vanessa Grigoriadis interviewed key members of the cult before they were arrested
‘Why can’t I just be in the same room with my family who I love but at the same time I want to crawl out of my skin and run away?’ she recalled thinking.
Clare and Sara Bronfman, the daughters of the billionaire philanthropist Edgar Bronfman Snr, were also interviewed.
They spoke glowingly of Raniere and of the organization.
Sara Bronfman said she felt she had to join because she ‘always wanted to do something to impact the world.’
‘My dad, as we were growing up, he was bringing Jews out of Russa, he was taking on the Swiss banks.
‘All of my dreams of saving the world with my dad were coming true.’
Raniere remains in custody and Mack is at her parents’ home on house arrest but no other members of the group have been arrested.
It was earlier reported that Oxenberg would be prepared to take the fall for Raniere if it kept him out of jail.