Synopses & Reviews
A jaw-dropping insider look into the world of the so-called "Hollywood Sex Cult" NXIVM chronicling the rise of enigmatic cult leader, Keith Raniere, from its "Patient Zero," his former girlfriend and test subject for his coercive control techniques.
Many have heard of NXIVM and its creator, Keith Raniere, an unassuming Albany man who prosecutors say ensnared tens of thousands of people in the US, Mexico and elsewhere, to do his bidding and pay millions of dollars to participate in his self-improvement methodology. What is not known is how many more people came under the thrall of this man in the years leading up to and including his founding of NXIVM. Where did Keith Raniere begin? How did he build NXIVM and its prior incarnations? And, most notably, how was this relatively far-flung entrepreneur able to get and keep his access to the wealth and power that allowed him to lure so many successful, sophisticated people?
Enter single mother Toni Natalie, Keith's Patient Zero, the first one indoctrinated into Raniere's methodology and the first one to escape. Told in three parts, the narrative uniquely walks us through the origin story to the fall of Raniere through Toni's eyes and ears. During this time, she bore witness to the evolution of his methodology, including his use of sexual coercion and entrapment, blackmail, and employment of psychological tools such as hypnosis and neuro linguistic programming to ambush, control, and punish those who would not heed his wishes...most of all Toni. Though unaware of Raniere's true motives and the extent of his involvement until she reconnected with others, Toni can uniquely detail the thousands of fortunes lost and the lives left in disarray that she witnessed contemporaneously, as she pulls back the curtain on the mind control techniques used on members of NXIVM and DOS, a group of women allegedly coerced into sexual acts under the guise of a "women's empowerment" inner circle, whom Raniere exercised extreme control over directly and through his lieutenants.
But far from being a victim's story, in the spirit of Erin Brockovich, Toni's is a nuanced narrative of a multi-dimensional woman saving herself, and then working tirelessly to help other women do the same for themselves. Today, Toni is happy, reunited with her son, and surrounded by friends and family--it is this perspective that makes her such a unique storyteller.