Danielle Roberts D.O., the so-called branding doctor of Nxivm, continues to speak out in support of the now-defunct DOS organization of which she was a member. A recent article on The Frank Report shared the osteopath’s thoughts on the benefits she gained from her experience in DOS — a group that’s been vilified by the media and labeled a ‘sex cult’ by many.
Roberts recently gave her perspective on branding women with Nxivm leader Keith Raniere’s initials in an NBC Dateline interview, stating that the women wanted the permanent body art and were not harmed. The ex-Nxivm members she branded include Lauren Salzman, Sarah Edmondson and India Oxenberg.
While Roberts was not charged in the case, the New York state board of health is investigating her for possible professional misconduct, putting her medical license at stake. Actress Sarah Edmondson, who is featured in HBO’s The Vow, filed the complaint against Roberts for professional misconduct. Edmondson was branded by Roberts in May 2017. A total of six women were branded at that same session, and five of those are complaining, per the Frank Report.
Some former members of DOS who continue to defend the group blame the Frank Report, Frank Parlato and Sarah Edmondson for destroying the secret sorority that supporters claim was designed to unite and empower women.
Roberts’ defense is that performing branding, also known as scarification, does not require a medical license and so can’t be subject to charges of medical misconduct.
Despite the public and professional fallout that Roberts has faced for her role in branding Nxivm members, she writes of DOS that “there were many benefits I experienced and that still positively impact my life today.”
What’s the Deal With Branding?
The main charge threatening Roberts’ right to practice medicine in New York is that she branded women.
Branding, like tattooing, is an ancient form of body art – brands are often described as ‘raised tattoos’. Branding reportedly first gained popularity as a form of body modification in the United States in mid-1980s San Francisco. The practice then saw a surge of popularity during the 1990s Modern Primitive movement. Today, branding is still considered a fairly common form of body modification, along with tattooing and piercing.
UK publication The Mirror called branding a craze back in 2015. Coincidentally, that was the same year DOS was formed. The Mirror linked to this video of a woman named Kerri getting Viking runes branded onto her arm.
Kerri is shown being branded with a cauterizing pen. That’s the same scarification tool used by Roberts to create the bikini-area brands for the women of DOS.
Keith Raniere, also known as Vanguard to his followers, was sentenced to 120 years in prison in October 2020. Besides being the mastermind behind the branding ceremony, he’s also accused of starving women by forcing them to follow extremely low-calorie diets.
However, Roberts appears to have a positive view of the DOS diet. She writes:
“I always wanted to be more elegant in appearance, lighter and more efficient […] DOS helped give me the structure, support, belief and permission to find out what it took for me to do this.”
What’s more, she says DOS helped her look closely at her weaknesses and utilize constructive feedback. The experience helped alert her to blind spots that were preventing her “from growing into the highest version of myself.”
While awaiting the ruling that could determine the fate of her medical license, Roberts is offering life-coaching services as well as online courses in “Bodhi Mastery.”