By Frank Parlato;
The ABC TV show “20/20” has been investigating NXIVM for some time and has announced their show about the now infamous cult will air on Friday, December 15th (10:00-11:00 p.m. EST), on ABC.
The full hour is expected to be devoted to NXIVM and its founder, Keith Raniere.
20/20 spoke with a number of former members and people familiar with NXIVM – and, by all accounts, has taken great pains to collect documents and video footage.
“20/20” is anchored by Elizabeth Vargas and David Muir. David Sloan is senior executive producer.
The hour will include a look at claims that NXIVM is associated with a women’s secret society [DOS] that brands and blackmails women.
Anchor Elizabeth Vargas sits down with former NXIVM member Sarah Edmondson, who filed a New York Department of Health complaint about the alleged branding. Edmondson says she went to the initiation expecting to receive a tattoo and was surprised to learn that she and others were to be branded. She tells Elizabeth Vargas that the branding procedure, in which she and other women took turns holding each other’s legs while they received their brands with a cauterizing iron, was “horrific,” and she says she later realized that the brands contained Keith Raniere’s initials.
Vargas also sits down with Mark Vicente, a 12-year member, and Toni Natalie, a former girlfriend of Raniere’s who knew him before he started NXIVM.
“20/20” also reports on Hollywood actors who are known NXIVM members, including “Smallville”‘s Allison Mack and India Oxenberg, daughter of “Dynasty” actress Catherine Oxenberg. Vargas sits down with Catherine, who details her so far unsuccessful efforts to convince her daughter to leave the group.
The hour also explores NXIVM’s litigation tactics against former members and critics.