CBC reporter, Jason Proctor has written an intriguing story of how, when the Vancouver Chapter fell to pieces – with news of the branding, shocking its membership – it was the beginning of the end for NXIVM.
“The fortunes of NXIVM have been very much reflected in the state of its Vancouver chapter,” Proctor writes. “The organization flourished in the city’s acting and self-improvement communities. And it was Sarah Edmondson, co-founder of the Vancouver centre, who led an eventual exodus with revelations about being branded with Raniere’s initials.”
Proctor reveals some new information which should be of interest to people following the NXIVM story.
He writes that, while the NXIVM scandal and implosion received reams of publicity, “what has received far less examination is the impact … on everyday members like those in Vancouver.” The ones who weren’t in an alleged sex cult or secret sorority. The ones still asking questions such as: ‘What if?’ and ‘What now?'”
Proctor writes about Gabrielle Gendron, a Vancouver woman who took NXIVM intensives that “transformed the 33-year-old homemaker’s life, giving her confidence and a new outlook on issues she’d been grappling with since childhood.”
Supporting what Barbara Bouchey argues – that NXIVM courses are ‘transformational” – Gendron said the courses “forced her to root deep into the past to unearth how events triggered behaviours she thought she couldn’t change.”
“It’s like years of therapy in five days,” Gendron said. “You are mentally drained afterwards. You’re crazy, but you’ve challenged everything in your entire life.”
After the cult imploded, Gendron became confused. She told Proctor, “I feel like my brain has been wiped, and I’m back in this confused state of a kid again. What is good or bad? What is right or wrong?”
Gendron, it appears, also had a near miss with connecting with the evil one – Keith Raniere. She might have even joined DOS and got branded.
Almost a year before Frank Report broke the branding story in June 2017, Gendron and her family went to V-Week in 2016 and met the Vanguard himself for the first time.
“He waved me over,” she said. “I remember that feeling of, ‘Oh my God, he wants to talk to me. He wants to see me. That’s amazing.'”
They became friends on social media. She had his email address.
At one point, Gendron thought about sharing some personal, troubling events from her youth that left her “constantly feeling the need to please men.”
“I almost wrote him to tell him the story of my life and my trauma,” Gendron told Proctor.
Luckily she didn’t.
Looking back, she wonders if Raniere might have encouraged her to become enslaved.
“If I would have sent that email and that message to him, that would have been the perfect way to have me come in to be in this DOS group,” she said. “I look, and I think — Oh my God, I was only one phone call away from being, like, ‘I’ll do this. Let me try it out.'”
Proctor also writes about cult expert Roseanne Henry who has worked with some 20 former NXIVM members. Henry thinks Jness was designed to teach women to be subservient, self-critical and bone-thin.
With an intense environment, very little sleep and peer pressure, Henry said women “were basically socialised and manipulated into wanting to become the person that Raniere needed them to be.”
Candee Clark, a graphic designer from Squamish, north of Vancouver, was also interviewed. She took classes for years before quitting because of the high cost.
NXIVM intensives start at $2,000.
Clark said NXIVM’s general pitch was “it was a scientific thing, like, ‘We’ve studied and researched, and we’ve figured how to grow the person, how to be happy.’ And there’s certain points in your life where you — where I — want to be told what to do.”
Of course, if the program worked as its name suggests – Executive Success Programs – Clark would have easily made enough extra money to pay for the courses.
Again and again, Frank Report has pointed out that what people learn in Executive Success Programs [NXIVM] do not pay for themselves but rather tend in the opposite direction – promoting poverty, via lack of thinking for oneself and an increasing willingness to want to be told what to do – by Raniere and his minions.
This is not the method executives achieve for success.
The entire program – while it may on the surface feel good and appear transformational – is actually deception – meant to destroy and enslave. The program does not make one more successful or better – it makes one weaker, poorer and more dependent.
It is, as Bouchey says, “transformational” – but in my opinion – in a negative way.
Despite what its apologists say, most people who took the courses did not advance in wealth or success and have nothing tangible to show for the thousands of dollars they invested in Executive Success courses.
Sometimes I think the NXIVM apologists are trying to justify their investment of time and money or their recruitment role in the vicious cult – that leads them to say it was transformational – instead of admitting they were deceived and that their good intentions were misused by Raniere., who preyed on good intentions and good people – while having none of his own.
In his CBC story, Proctor also reveals some of what happened in the battle that loomed between the monster Clare Bronfman and Sarah Edmondson.
Files with the addresses, credit card details and private information of some 1200 people who took NXIVM classes in Vancouver are presently locked in a downtown Vancouver law office.
“Edmondson petitioned the B.C. Supreme Court last December to place the information out of NXIVM’s reach,” Proctor reveals. Bronfman made every effort to get it.
When Frank Report first revealed the branding practice of NXIVM [DOS], almost every member of Vancouver quit. It was a wholesale exodus. Only about five members – led by Concordia University Associate Professor Diana Lim and Apple computer home repairman, Lucas “Cuckie” Roberts remained in the cult in Vancouver.
With everyone quitting, and with NXIVM’s policy of automatically billing members monthly — Edmondson decided to move the files [including credit card info of members] out of NXIVM’s reach.
It prevented the rapacious company from automatically billing the now ex-members’ credit cards for various fees, without first contacting them to see if they wanted to keep on paying for such things as Ethos, Jness, the Society of Protectors and other programs – in light of the fact that the leader of the companies was branding his initials on women’s pubic regions – after getting blackmail-worthy material from them.
As reported first on Frank Report – angry about losing access to the credit card info, Clare Bronfman flew to Vancouver in July 2017, and filed a criminal complaint against Edmondson – seeking to have her arrested, handcuffed and imprisoned – and, in so doing, likely lying to police – claiming Sarah stole the files from NXIVM.
Frank Report detailed this dishonest criminal claim by Bronfman in a series of stories on Frank Report and Artvoice – alerting the Vancouver Police and the Royal Canadian Mounties – about the propensity for perjury that constantly emits from the mouth of the horrid and now indicted heiress.
Edmondson was never charged but there were harrowing and nervous days in the interim – as Vancouver Police sought to question her.
At the time – from June 2017 until the NY Times story came out with its blockbuster story in mid October 2017 – only the Frank Report was writing about NXIVM and its branding and blackmail practices.
It was understandable that Edmonsdon would be worried. We all were worried, since Bronfman came from a famous Canadian family and with her wealth and influence, her ability to hire lawyers friendly to prosecutors and police chiefs – she – we feared- might be able to influence, bribe and pressure Vancouver police into arresting Edmondson – which may have destroyed the whole resistance movement to the powerful and dangerous cult.
For his CBC story, Proctor interviewed me. We spent about an hour on the phone going over my recollection of what happened in Vancouver.
Proctor wrote, “Parlato was the first to break the news of DOS and the ritual branding…. He broke the story of Edmondson’s ordeal… The news spread through the Vancouver NXIVM community like a virus. Parlato says a slew of defections cut the numbers for that year’s Vanguard week.”
V-week “was missing, in large part, the Vancouver contingent,” [Parlato] said. “When Vancouver bolted, the cult cratered.”
“Vancouver was the real breakaway that destroyed NXIVM,” I told him. “If Vancouver hadn’t acted so virulently [to the branding] the cult might not have cratered.”
Indeed it has cratered – and the germ of it began with the people of Vancouver – who could not quite stomach women getting branded – and blackmailed – and who left in droves.
Keith Raniere, who had told them he was the world’s smartest, hadn’t figured on that.