Actress Allison Mack exits the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York following a status conference, June 12, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Mack was charged in April with sex trafficking for her involvement with a self-help organization for women that forced members into sexual acts with their leader. The group, called Nxivm, was led by founder Keith Raniere, who was arrested in March on sex-trafficking charges. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Allison Mack Apologizes for Her Role in NXIVM Cult, but Survivors Aren’t Having It

Mack will be sentenced next week after pleading guilty to racketeering and conspiracy charges.
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Allison Mack has issued a full statement where she apologizes to survivors for her role in Keith Raniere’s NXIVM cult. The Smallville actor was an early adopter of NXIVM and quickly rose through the ranks to become Raniere’s second in command, recruiting young women for the cult via self-actualization seminars, which led them to become “slaves” to Raniere under the organization’s DOS (or Dominos Obsequious Sororium, or Master Over the Slave Women) subgroup. Mack was said to be the leader of DOS, and allegedly oversaw all sorts of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of the cult members, including the branding of Raniere’s initials above their genitals. In addition, some women were branded with Mack’s initials.

Mack was charged with sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, and forced labor conspiracy by the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York. She was also accused of blackmailing women with naked photos and forcing them to have sex with Raniere. Since her arrest in 2018, Mack has been living under house arrest in the custody of her parents in California. Mack turned over evidence used to indict Raniere, and she later plead guilty to racketeering conspiracy and racketeering charges.

In October, Raniere was sentenced to 120 years in prison for multiple counts of sex trafficking, conspiracy, and racketeering. Mack is set to be sentenced on June 30. Her lawyers are asking for no jail time, citing Mack’s own victimization by Raniere and her cooperation with the authorities. If convicted, she could face 15 years in prison.

Mack apologizes in her statement, writing “It is now of paramount importance to me to say, from the bottom of my heart, I am so sorry. I threw myself into the teachings of Keith Raniere with everything I had. I believed, whole-heartedly, that his mentorship was leading me to a better, more enlightened version of myself. I devoted my loyalty, my resources, and, ultimately, my life to him. This was the biggest mistake and greatest regret of my life.”

She continued, “I am sorry to those of you that I brought into Nxivm. I am sorry I ever exposed you to the nefarious and emotionally abusive schemes of a twisted man. I am sorry that I encouraged you to use your resources to participate in something that was ultimately so ugly. I do not take lightly the responsibility I have in the lives of those I love and I feel a heavy weight of guilt for having misused your trust, leading you down a negative path. I am sorry to those of you whom I spoke to in a harsh or hurtful way. At the time, I believed I was helping. I believed in tough love and thought it was the path to personal empowerment. I was so confused. I never want to be someone who is considered mean, but those aspects of my humanity have been revealed in all of this; it has been devastating to reconcile.”

NXIVM survivors are worried that Mack’s cooperation with the feds will absolve her of her allegedly horrific criminal behavior. Ivy Nevares, a former long-time NXIVM member told The Daily Beast, “I tend to believe any woman, be it from NXIVM or not, would feel too light a sentence for Allison might somehow normalize or condone women abusing other women.”

Another former NXIVM member (who remains anonymous) said that Mack going free would be “devastating,” adding “Indirectly and directly, she made scores of women suffer. It would be really sad to see her get away with it because she saved her own skin.”

Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahman said, “Allison Mack was involved in some pretty heinous activity, and the fact that she cooperated does not mitigate anything she did, … While she did not do the bare minimum in cooperating with prosecutors, she didn’t go out of her way to help either. She was a non-cooperating witness that prosecutors did not end up putting on the stand. She didn’t go out of the way to help make sure justice was served.”

Allison Mack clearly played a major role in NXIVM and held a lot of power within the cult. On the other hand, she is also a victim of Raniere’s machinations. She is also white, wealthy, and famous, factors which will likely reduce her sentence. But Mack’s victimization doesn’t absolve her of the heinous stuff she did within NXVIM. We will have to wait for next week to see if Mack will be held accountable for her horrific behavior.

(via Variety, image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.