In the annals of celebrity weirdness, it rarely gets weirder than this. More than ten years ago former Maxim Hot 100 pick Kristin Kreuk and Allison Mack, cast members of CW's Superman prequel Smallville, joined a self-help group called NXIVM ("Nexium")
Led by guru Keith Raniere, NXIVM outwardly appeared to be an organization offering seminars for professional and personal advancement—life coaching. But investigators believe it was actually an S&M sex cult that branded female members and recruited sex slaves. Mexican police have arrested Raniere for sex trafficking and a host of other charges and it sounds like Mack may be next.
In the video above Allison Mack is supposedly interviewing Raniere, though it's obvious we're watching a charade meant to showcase Raniere's incoherent ideas about development and Mack's apparent worship of the NXIVM leader.
As the New York Post reports, Raniere was more like one of Clark Kent's enemies on Smallville—basically "...a real-life super villain." He structured the secret inner core of NXIVM in a cult-like way. He was at the top and was supposed to be sexually worshiped by members, and Mack was allegedly right beside him.
Kreuk actually brought Mack into NXIVM. Kreuk—Lana Lang in Smallville—stayed till 2012, leaving after a report surfaced alleging Raniere was a sexual predator with a yen for underage girls.
On the TV show, Mack was Chloe Sullivan, a girl with a persistent crush on Tom Welling's Kent. As a part of NXIVM, the Post reports she—and Kreuk—rose through the ranks of a secret women-only group within the organization, acting as recruiters for new members.
Former NXIVM publicist Frank Parlato has been working to expose the group for years. He told the Post that after Kreuk left, Mack hung on, and man did things get crazy then:
But Mack stayed on and, according to Parlato, helped come up with the idea of sizzling the “brand” into initiates’ skin, near their groins, as they were held down. About 2-by-2-inches, the mark combined Raniere’s initials, KR, with Mack’s, AM.
“Kreuk was also in the inner circle, but branding was a later addition to Raniere’s abuse of women,” Parlato said.
To put a fine point on it: They were freaking branding women.
Frank Parlato gave more disturbing details to the Post about how enmeshed Mack was in the cult. "She started as a slave and she became a slave master," he said, “Her nickname among defectors is 'Pimp Mack.'"
Parlato has broken key aspects of this story, such as the following video of Raniere's arrest. A painfully thin Mack is seen at one point, looking stunned.
At his website Parlato also posted NXIVM's response to Raniere's arrest, essentially denying the charges. More importantly, he quoted the DOJ's press release, which at one point says Raniere "allegedly participated in horrifying acts of branding and burning [members], with the cooperation of other women operating within this unorthodox pyramid scheme."
It seems likely Kristin Kreuk will have to perhaps act as a witness in such a crazy case in the future. How could she not?
That sets up the prospect of Smallville's "Lana Lang" facing a shackled "Chloe Sullivan" in court, which is almost as surreal as everything else in this complicated, crazy story.
There won't even be some dude in a cape there to save them.