Catherine Oxenberg

Hostile Commenter Questions My Relationship With Catherine Oxenberg and Sarah Edmondson

An anoymous commenter, who was not interested in reading my interview with sex offenders, had this to say:

How about [if] you interview Catherine Oxenberg, Sarah Edmondson, Mark Vicente, and others on the record? Back in summer 2017, instead of doing it themselves, they used you and your blog to get out the story they wanted to be told.  How about they return the favor?

I know you were equally motivated to see your former employers and their destructive criminal enterprise destroyed, and if you hadn’t been indicted, you wouldn’t have bothered writing about the cult, but still, without your willingness to post whatever they and others shared with you back then, we would have had to wait until the New York Times finally published its piece to find out the horrors of DOS.

Oxenberg and Edmondson, in particular, have given interviews to seemingly whoever and wherever, so why not the Frank Report, the site they used to expose DOS???? …If they are worried you will mischaracterize or edit their interviews, they could do video interviews…

What’s happening with India’s memoir, supposedly being shopped by Foundry Literary + Media?

Any update on the release date for the HBO documentary? Is Frank going to be cut out of it because of… .?

Why didn’t they include Cami in the [Nxivm civil] lawsuit? And why did they include Karen Unterreiner but not Kristin Keeffe [as defendants]? And why did they include Nicki and Allison [as defendants] when they don’t have any money and Edmondson and Vicente were directly or indirectly responsible for recruiting them and surely made more money off of the cult than those two woeful, hapless women?

There are a lot of questions here – but I will try to answer them.

As for the HBO series on Nxivm, I do not know when it will air. The coronavirus pandemic has delayed a lot of films. I am told I am in the series and was not “cut out of it.”  I do not worry about such things as whether I appear or not in someone’s documentary.

I made my own film, “The Lost Women of Nxivm”, which premiered on Investigation Discovery in the USA on December 8, 2019 – and then subsequently aired around the world. As a result of the success of the film, I have been asked to make additional films including the investigation of several suspicious deaths which are non-Nxivm related.

India Oxenberg

As for India’s memoir, I have never spoken to India in my life and have no desire to ask her about her book. Possibly she thought better of it.  I do not know if there is any advantage of her telling the tale of her abuse, as opposed to moving on with her life.

I am more interested in my own book. I have been approached by a leading agent, who asked me to write a book proposal and secure a publisher and an advance. I have chosen not to write a book proposal, but rather to complete the book first. Then, if I am satisfied with it, I’ll shop it around or publish it myself.  The advantage of self-publishing is that the profit per book is significantly higher and the author controls every aspect of the book and its ancillary rights.  From my perspective, it is more important to write the book and make it precisely what I want it to be rather than do a book proposal, get an advance and then be beholden to a publisher and their potentially shifting focus demands.

Even if I ultimately agree to have my work published by a publisher other than myself, I want to have the book completed first. This permits a publisher to accept the work as written or make suggestions that are mutually agreed upon prior to signing a publishing agreement.

When a book is sold with a mere book proposal, and an advance is accepted, the publisher has a great deal of influence in how the book ultimately is written. That influence is going to manifest itself in writing the book based on what is likely to sell the most copies and not necessarily in telling the story as accurately as possible.

It is my plan – and I am working on it presently – to write a genuine and authoritative history of Nxivm and not a memoir, as the other books on Nxivm have been so far.

Neil Glazer is the lead attorney for a lawsuit against Nxivm leaders.

As for why Cami is not a defendant in the Neil Glazer lawsuit, where he represents some 80 plaintiffs against about 15 Nxivm leaders, I believe that it is because Cami’s sister, Dani, is one of chief plaintiffs. I doubt Dani would be willing to sue her sister.

I also don’t think Cami is a pivotal defendant since she has no money and her role in victimizing others was not significant.

As for the reason why Karen U is a defendant and Kristin Keeffe is not is, I believe that Kristin was a former client of Glazer’s.

Karen, though she likely has no money, probably has a treasure trove of information about Raniere that might be valuable in discovery or at trial. Karen was with him the longest – and, although others have claimed it, Karen is probably patient [or victim] zero.

She was snagged by Raniere when she was 17 and spent 40 years with him. Conversely, it was Kristin, who spent about 22 years with Raniere, who first interested Glazer in pursuing the lawsuit against Nxivm leaders.  I believe it would be a conflict of interest for Glazer to sue his former client. In addition, Kristin, while being an inner circle member, left Nxivm before it imploded, and did a lot to help take down Raniere. She was one of the main whistleblowers and worked closely with the prosecution in their trial preparation.

Allison Mack and Nicki Clyne, both members of DOS. They might be married.
Allison Mack and “spouse,” Nicki Clyne.

As for including Allison and Nicki as defendants in the lawsuit, despite the fact that they likely do not have any money, I would guess that by being defendants, their depositions will be important. In addition, they have name value for publicity purposes.

The real money players in this lawsuit are obviously the Bronfman sisters. Although Raniere may have some of the $8 million he inherited from Pam Cafritz still available for plaintiffs to attach.

Clare [l] and Sara [r] Bronfman are obviously the main defendants that plaintiffs hope to collect money from in the Glazer lawsuit.

As far as Mark Vicente, Catherine Oxenberg or Sarah Edmondson interviewing with me, the fact is I have not asked them to interview after the takedown of Raniere and co.  We did our job, working together, to take down Nxivm – and that is sufficient.

Our work went on for months before and months after the New York Times story.

Catherine and Sarah have mentioned me in their books and that is a better on the record statement than any interview could be, in my opinion.

Catherine wrote Captive: A Mother’s Crusade, published by Simon and Schuster. In it, she tells the story of how her then 27-year-old daughter, India, was enslaved and branded – and what Catherine did to get her out.

She wrote that she came to me as the only voice speaking out against Nxivm to break the news of the branding and blackmailing of women.

Four months after I broke the story Catherine gave me, the New York Times published their story and credited me with making NXIVM members aware that women were being branded, which, it turned out, allowed many of them to escape.

The Times wrote, “many of Mr. Raniere’s followers learned of the secret society [DOS] from a website run by a Buffalo-area businessman, Frank R. Parlato Jr. Mr. Parlato had been locked in a long legal battle with two sisters, Sara and Clare Bronfman, who are members of Nxivm and the daughters of Edgar Bronfman, the deceased chairman of Seagram Company….

“In early June [2017], Mr. Parlato published the first in a torrent of salacious posts under the headline, ‘Branded Slaves and Master Raniere.’”

The Times story also interested the US Attorney for the Eastern District of NY. The FBI opened an investigation that led to the arrest of Raniere, Mack, Clare Bronfman, Lauren and Nancy Salzman and Kathy Russell.

Oxenberg’s book gave never before published details of our roles in working together to take down the cult, including our first meeting when she came to Niagara Falls.

In her acknowledgments at the end of her book, Oxenberg wrote about the worldwide media attention that followed our efforts:

She writes, “I’m grateful to the members of the media for the relentless coverage given to exposing the atrocities of NXIVM, helping to generate much needed public outrage. Thanks to Barry Meier [NY Times], Liz McNeil [People], Brendon Lyons [Albany Times Union], Megyn Kelly [Today Show], Glenn Ruppel [20-20], Elizabeth Vargas [20-20], Tim Uehlinger [Dateline], Chemene Pelzer [Today Show], John Filimon [Producer], Alicia Powers [Inside Edition], Scott Thompson [Publicist] and many more. And a very special thanks to Frank Parlato: because of your tireless efforts, hundreds defected and escaped the horrors of branding and slavery.”

In her inscription in her book written personally to me, Oxenberg wrote, “You were the gunpowder, the canon, and much more in blowing NXIVM to smithereens. I owe you a debt of gratitude for your indefatigable offensive opposing one of the world’s most devious rascals [Raniere].”

I was also mentioned in Sarah Edmondson’s book, Scarred. 

She wrote:

Mark [Vicente] had told the actress Catherine Oxenberg about the branding and the intricacies of DOS. We’d deduced that Catherine’s daughter, India, was in DOS as a slave under Allison Mack. Catherine was in mama bear mode to get her out.

Catherine begged me to tell my story to a reporter named Frank Parlato, who’d been in a long legal fight with the Bronfman sisters. He had once been hired by the Bronfmans to do some PR, but the Bronfmans ended up suing him. Since then, he’d made it his life’s work to uncover information about the workings of NXIVM and blog about it. Under the condition that he would not disclose my name, I told Frank about my branding experience, so that he could expose DOS in time to stop the next session. From my hotel room in Toronto, I told Frank everything. Releasing that secret was the biggest relief so far.

We were successful. The word about Frank’s blog spread in the community, and because of this heat, the next branding ceremony was called off….

Everyone was reading Frank’s blog… Espians had started to put together what had happened [about DOS]. I was redirecting phone calls to Ariella, one of the proctors in Vancouver, who was a dear friend. She’d never been a chief enroller in NXIVM, but now— disgusted about the branding—she was very good at de-enrolling people from the community. She didn’t have any collateral on the line and was happy to tell them everything that was going on. Ariella became my mouthpiece.

She texted me: Can you please talk to Beth? She is supposed to move to Albany and doesn’t believe the Frank Report. She was referring to Frank Parlato’s blog.

Sure, I texted back. … “I am at work,” she said when I called her. “Let me step out, and I’ll call you right back.”

When she did, she had many questions and I tried to direct her to the Frank Report. “But it can’t be true, right?” she said. “I mean—branding? I’m supposed to move to Albany and this shit is scary.”

Her question sent me over the edge. “For fuck’s sake, Beth—do you need to see my brand?”

She was silent on the line.

“Do not move to Albany. Trust me.” I hung up the phone, shaking, thinking I had saved another woman from the trap I had just escaped from.

Instead, I found out a few hours later from Melanie, another DOS slave who came to me for help after she read Frank’s blog, that not only was Beth in DOS, but she was Melanie’s master, and had already been branded…

I got into NXIVM because I wanted to help others, to evolve the world, and live and work among an empowered community of women. … twelve years later, by developing the support I needed to come forward and share what happened, I stopped … women from being branded. I’ll never know how many women gained the information they needed to end their association with Keith Raniere because I, along with Mark, Bonnie, Nippy, and Catherine Oxenberg, had come forward with what we knew. Each of us, including Frank Parlato, Barry Meier, and many other journalists over the years have played an important role in exposing the darkness behind NXIVM’s front of “personal development.”

In both Catherine and Sarah’s books, they credit me with at least as an important, if not more important role than the New York Times in saving women from being branded and in exposing Nxivm and DOS to Nxivm members.

At this moment in time, I do not think there is much more work to do with them. I do not think I need to interview them.

I consider Mark, Sarah, and Catherine my friends – friends I made by fighting the monster together with them. These kinds of friendships have their own kind of special meaning.  It does not require on-the-record interviews or entail worriment about mischaracterizations. It has already been through the test of authenticity in a real battle. It is not quite the same as a media interview, recounting the tale after the battle was won.

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