NXIVM branding: Allison Mack and the story behind the ‘sex cult ritual’

Allison Mack speaking about cult involvement in a recruitment video
In an old recruitment video, Allison Mack talks about what she learned from the sex cult

Allison Mack is alleged to be the second in charge in the NXIVM sex cult and has been credited with coming up with the idea to brand initiates. As many know, the brand itself is a mish-mash of the initials of the two leaders, Allison herself as well as group co-founder Keith Raniere.

Prior to her arrest for alleged sex trafficking, the Smallville star gave an interview about NXIVM, which she claimed was a self-help group. The New York Times reported that Allison Mack admitted that branding some of the women who joined the group was initially her idea.

“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 said about her idea to begin branding the members.

It turns out that the NXIVM branding isn’t something that just happens. It’s all part of a ceremony or a ritual of sorts.

A&E featured a series called Cults and Extreme Beliefs, where they explored what is known about the NXIVM sex cult. Former NIXVM member, Sarah Edmondson shared her experience from years of service to the group.

Edmondson said that when she was given the NXIVM brand, it was done in Allison Mack’s home. She described getting branded, along with a handful of other women that day, as part in a sorority-type ritual where they were admitted to the group.

During this ritual, Edmondson claimed that all of the women were naked and had to hold each other down during the painful procedure that was administered without any pain relief.

Edmondson admitted that she didn’t know what the NXIVM brand stood for at first. It was only later that she realized the seared skin formed the initials A.M. and K. R., which were rather easy to see depending on the angle of the brand.

The painful NXIVM branding wasn’t the only way women were reportedly scared into staying loyal to the group. Another way that NXIVM is said to have retained control over their recruits was through blackmail and coercion.

Another reported NIXVM practice was to have those joining the so-called self-help group submit nude photographs of themselves as collateral. One can only imagine where those images might end up if a woman were to desert NXIVM or share any of their secrets.

As a result of their involvement in the NXIVM sex cult, both Keith Raniere and Allison Mack are facing legal ramifications. Raniere has been charged with forcing women to have sex with him. Mack has been charged with sex trafficking, as women have come forward with claims that she recruited women into the group specifically to have sex with their leader.

In March 2018, Keith Raniere was arrested in Mexico for his involvement in NXIVM. As he was taken away from the luxury resort where he had been staying with multiple women, it was reported that many of those women attempted to give chase, clearly still under his spell.

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