Arriving on Sky later this year is HBO’s latest true-crime documentary The Vow – a nine-part series examining controversial cult NXIVM and the sexual slavery allegations it has attracted.
Directed by the creators behind The Great Hack, The Vow looks at the NXIVM rise to prominence and the eventual arrest of its main leaders, including founder Keith Raniere who was convicted on sex trafficking, child pornography and racketeering conspiracy charges.
Here’s everything you need to know about the people involved in the upcoming docuseries and where they are now.
Who is Keith Raniere? 59-year-old Keith Raniere is the founder of NXIVM – the ‘multi-level marketing organisation’ widely considered a cult. In 1998, he founded Executive Success Programs – a personal development company which offered techniques for self-improvement. That program rebranded a few years later under the name NXIVM.
He went by the title ‘Vanguard’ within NXIVM and was uncovered to have been conducting sexual relationships with underage women and inducting women into the society as sexual slaves, branding his initials on them with a hot cauterising pen and forcing them to provide nude photos or other potentially damaging information about themselves (according to the New York Times).
Where is Keith Raniere now? In March 2018, Raniere was arrested and indicted on charges related to sex trafficking, conspiracy for sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit forced labor.
In June 2019, he was found guilty on all charges, including sexual exploitation of a child and possession of child pornography, sex trafficking, identity theft, trafficking for labor, forced labor and services, conspiracy to alter records for use in an official proceeding and sex trafficking conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy, racketeering conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy.
He is currently awaiting sentencing and faces a minimum prison term of 15 years and a possible life sentence.
Who is Allison Mack? 38-year-old Allison Mack is an American actress, who had roles on CW series Smallville and FX’s Wilfred, before joining NXIVM.
She was reportedly recruited to NXIVM’s Vancouver chapter in 2010 along with her Smallville co-star Kristin Kreuk. She soon became one of the cult’s main figures and began convincing NXIVM members to join a secret society within the group named DOS, introducing a requirement that female members be branded with Raniere’s initials. During her time in NXIVM, she married Canadian actress Nicki Clyne in February 2017.
Where is Allison Mack now? Mack was arrested in 2018 on charges of sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and forced labor conspiracy. Prosecutors alleged that she blackmailed women into engaging in sexual activity with Raniere against their wishes and enslaved them to do tasks, and accused her of entering into a sham marriage with Clyne to evade immigration law.
In April 2019, she pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and racketeering charges. She is currently awaiting sentencing.
Who is Sarah Edmondson? Sarah Edmondson is a Canadian actress who was a member of NXIVM for some time, before leaving in 2017. She spoke out about the abuse within NXIVM after leaving the cult, claiming that she was invited into DOS and branded with Raniere’s and Mack’s initials.
Where is Sarah Edmondson now? 43-year-old Edmondson appears in The Vow, recalling her time within NXIVM and how she tried to convince a number of its members to leave. She was the subject of investigative podcast Uncover: Escaping NXIVM in 2018, and wrote a memoir in 2019 titled Scarred: The True Story of How I Escaped NXIVM, the Cult That Bound My Life.
Who is Mark Vicente? Filmmaker Mark Vicente was a member of NXIVM for a decade and began rising through the ranks when he discovered the group’s secret sex slave society DOS and decided to leave. In court, he described NXIVM as a “well-intended veneer that covers horrible evil”.
Where is Mark Vicente now? Vicente features in HBO’s The Vow, giving interviews about his time in the organisation. He continues to work as a writer and cinematographer, and is currently developing a sci-fi series.
Who is Nancy Salzman? Nancy Salzman, a psychiatric nurse and trained practitioner of hypnotism and Neuro-Linguistic programming, co-founded NXIVM alongside Keith Raniere in 1998. She recruited a number of people into NXIVM, including her own daughter Lauren Salzman and was known as ‘Prefect’ within the cult.
After Raniere’s arrest in 2018, Salzman’s home was raided and she was later arrested on charges of racketeering. In court, the 64-year-old admitted to hacking into the emails of the group’s perceived enemies to destroy evidence that could be used against them.
Where is Nancy Salzman now? In March 2019, Salzman plead guilty to a charge of racketeering criminal conspiracy, which her daughter also plead guilty to. She is currently awaiting sentencing, which prosecutors have asked to consist of 33 to 41 months in prison.
Who is Clare Bronfman? Clare Bronfman is the heiress to the Seagram’s liquor fortune who became a high-ranking member of NXIVM. She became involved in the organisation’s personal advancement program with her sister Sara and soon started bankrolling NXIVM.
She became the cult’s operations director and one of its largest financial contributors. In 2018, she was arrested and charged with money laundering and identity theft in connection with her activities within NXIVM.
Where is Clare Bronfman now? Bronfman initially plead not guilty to her charges, but later plead guilty to conspiracy to conceal and harbour illegal aliens for financial gain and fraudulent use of identification in 2019.
She currently awaits sentencing and faces between 21 and 27 months in prison.
Who is Nicki Clyne? Battlestar Galactica actress Nicki Clyne became involved with NXIVM in 2006 and requested to be let out of her contact with the show to focus on the cult full-time. The Canadian actress married Allison Mack in 2017, however the prosecutors in Mack’s criminal case alleged the marriage to be a sham to circumvent US immigration laws.
Where is Nicki Clyne now? In 2019, Clyne was identified as part of Raniere’s ‘inner circle’ by a government witness, however she was not charged as a conspirator on any of the charges brought against Raniere and other members of NXIVM.
The Vow will air on Sky Documentaries in November. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV guide.