As one commenter said, Allison Mack “didn’t have a choice…” This is where I disagree.
She was under no compulsion, she had every opportunity to leave Nxivm.
She could have left halfway through the first meeting, after a week, or at any point during the intervening years. She wasn’t forced, blackmailed, or compelled by economic necessity to get involved with NXIVM. She wasn’t a child. She’s not mentally disabled. She acted entirely of her own free will, made a series of extremely bad decisions, and now is paying the price.
Yes, she was manipulated.
But she allowed herself to be manipulated. She was a fool. And she has no real excuse: She was financially well off; she had an enviable career.
I can have more sympathy for somebody who takes to crime because they have no options in life. Or some 15 year old kid who goes joyriding with his friends in a stolen car because they talk him into it.
Mack had no such excuse. She was leading a life of privilege when she decided to join NXIVM. And NXIVM was clearly a scam, anyone with a lick of sense would know that straight off the bat.
Yes, Kristin Kreuk introduced her to it (may she rot in Hell). But I wonder: why, when Kreuk was talking up NXIVM on the Smallville set, why was Mack the only one enough of a fool to get involved with it?
Why not Rosenbaum or Welling or Freedman or Durance? Why were none of them groomed, brainwashed, hypnotized?
My speculative answer is that Mack was perhaps naive, weak-willed, and ambitious. She’d have had to be naive to fall for the spiel, to be suckered by a boastful charlatan like Keith Raniere. To fall for the tired pop-psychology motivational speaker sales pitch. To not realize they were smooth-talking her to rip her off.
Weak-willed to not just say no.
WTF is so hard about saying no? “No, I’m not buying and no, I don’t have to give you a reason why.”
Ambitious. Aye, there’s the rub. That’s something I picked up on from her blog. Mack wanted to make a difference. Make an impact on the world. Do good, help women. Admirable, but there’s a dark shadow there. She was not satisfied being an actress. What, that’s it, that’s my life’s work, 10 years of playing Chloe on TV? And what do I do now, get a job selling Toyotas in Long Beach?
My guess is she thought NXIVM would help her make that big impact. Find herself and help her change the world. She talked about that a lot. So I think she wanted to believe in Raniere. This is how Ponzi schemes and confidence rackets work: the suckers want it to be true, so they fool themselves. Because they’re greedy.
It was entirely her choice. And by God did she get burned. She was warned. I know for a fact that people in the comments section of her blog warned her. I was one of them. Somebody put up a link to a YouTube video showing Raniere boasting about having people killed. She had friends and family. Some of them must’ve warned her. But she chose to stick with Raniere. Up to and including the blackmailing and branding of women. Convincing women to join her Sorority of Obedient Sisters. Because she’s a feminist committed to helping women.
It’s a sad story, and I do have sympathy for Allison Mack. She ruined a promising life. She was a competent professional actress. She had talent. Her intellectual curiosity was admirable and I believe she genuinely wanted to do good. But she ruined her own life, and others’ lives.
She did that, of her own free will. She lacked the strength of character to avoid temptation and ended up a criminal. Ultimately, she has nobody to blame but herself.
May she return from prison in a few years sadder but wiser.