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The cult of the cults: The "New York sex cult" affair never ceases to fascinate America - Walla! culture


If the nine hours of "The Vow: The Sex Cult of New York" weren't enough for you, another series on the cult affair, "Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult," aired in the United States, revealing inside secrets and closing accounts with the leader. Both series are interesting, but both also fail to distill the most important thing in the affair

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The Cults' iPhone: The "New York Sex Sect" affair never ceases to fascinate America

If the nine hours of "The Vow: The Sex Cult of New York" weren't enough for you, another series on the cult affair, "Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult," aired in the United States, revealing inside secrets and closing accounts with the leader.

Both series are interesting, but both also fail to distill the most important thing in the affair


  • Alison Mack

  • Vow: The New York Sex Sect

  • TV review

Ben Byron Braude

Wednesday, 11 November 2020, 08:18

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Photo: Reuters, Editing: Tomer Levy

On October 16, HBO announced that it was relaunching the New York Sex Sect docu-crime series (originally "The Vow," meaning "The Vow") for a second season that would air as early as 2021. A renewal of a second-season docu-crime series is not A trivial thing, certainly not so fast, in fact, when Netflix was thrilled with the success of "Making A Murderer" it took her three years to produce a second season, but when it comes to "Vow: The Sex Cult of New York" ", Which brought the story of the cult conceived by the man and the hair, Keith Raniri, nothing is as it seems at first.

The story of Nxium / NXIVM is on the one hand the story of every sect familiar to us from the last decades: Osho (who also won her own docu in "A Very Wild Land"), Hara Krishna, whose followers still travel in Israel today, the Harel sect (film "Profession: Prophet") Screened in the last Check-Spring), and even that of Goel Ratzon who has won countless cultural mentions.

On the other hand, Nexium is the cult of the cult: it attracted young, rich, successful and beautiful men and women, all attracted to Ranieri's honey by talking about values ​​and a better world, and when they realized they were deep within a bizarre sex cult it was too late.

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Recruited the women.

Actress Alison Mack arrives in court, May 2018 (Photo: Jemal Countess / Getty Images)

Although this article has been published almost a month since the first season of "The Vow" ended, while in Israel the discourse about it mainly concerned avid docu-crime fans, in the United States Nexium and Reniri have become a real cultural phenomenon.

In fact, just this week, another docu-series on the affair, "Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult," aired on cable network Starez and brings the story of Nexium through the eyes of India Oxenberg, a cult survivor who was among the last to break free from Raniri's.

For four episodes, Oxenberg talks to other survivors of the cult, with experts in the field trying to figure out what motivated her to get in there in the first place, and also with her mother Catherine, whose "vow" showed how she tried to rescue her daughter.

Before we dive any further into the story of Nexium, we need to address the thong-clad elephant in the room.

"The Sex Cult of New York" is the name given by Israeli broadcasters (yes, hot, and Cellcom TV) to the documentary series on Nexium.

Without doing an in-depth investigation, it can be assumed that someone there assumed that this name would bring quite a few viewers to choose it on a tiredly laden VOD, and there is no doubt that this is a much more appealing name than "The Vow".

But what to do, we live in a world where truth - still - plays a role.

Viewers who began watching the series realized that it was a complex, sad and exhausting journey (nine episodes of about an hour each) of a group of sober people towards the truth, rather than a sensational documentary about orgies in New York Bohemia.

Not to mention that the "sharp-eyed" also noticed the great distance that exists between the name given to it here in the country and the original "The Vow" and may even have felt cheated.

Finally, sometime around the third episode we updated her name in Israel to "Vow: The Sex Cult of New York" and so we probably marked V on all the sections.

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A supporting actor even in the series about him.

Illustration by Keith Raniri, cult leader (center), in court (Photo: AP)

We all want to be better, more efficient and most of all happier people, this is the starting point that made Nexium another self-improvement program for a company worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Keith Raniri co-founded the program with Nancy Salzman (a former nurse and certified hypnotist) in 1998, having already successfully established another company that was one of the first to engage in group acquisitions.

Watching "The Sex Sect" and also one episode of "Seduced," it's easy to see how Raniri managed to sweep away people who saw him as style genius Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and the Dalai Lama.

This is an average looking man, with average charisma and the least intimidating presence you will find.

The actors, directors, stockbrokers and high-tech people who flocked to Nexium meetings belong to the genre that despises cults, they are cynical and aware and educated.

On paper there is almost no record of lost beauty encounters here as you saw in "A Very Wild Land".

Nexium itself, and the Executive Success Programs that have become part of the methods it taught in the insanely expensive seminars they delivered, are just a cover for dozens of sub-programs or sub-classes, if you will.

The most talked about is called DOS - it has nothing to do with the system that the children of the eighties remember from their computer - and within it the most shocking exploitation took place.

Dozens of women, mostly beautiful and successful young women, entered a hierarchical sect where they were asked to starve themselves, maintain a strict and sleep-free schedule, have sex with Keith Raniri, and what may be best remembered - mark themselves above the crotch with the sign that later became the acronym of KR (yes, Keith Rennieri).

These are the most sensational parts of the story, the ones that made the "sex cult" the talk of the day in the United States.

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Trying to overthrow the leader in real time.

Mark Vicente and Sarah Edmundson, "The Vow: The Sex Cult of New York" (Photo: PR)

The truth is that this story, complex and multi-layered as it may be, is among the least sexual you can find on your TV screen.

The discourse around Nexium Vernieri includes almost no sexual descriptions - they exist but on the margins - but merely talk of exploiting weaknesses and control, something the cult leaders knew best to do.

There are lots (lots) of fascinating characters in Nexium's story.

In fact, Rani is such a loser that he manages to become a supporting actor even in a series documenting his own defeat.

Alison Mack who you will surely recognize from the youth drama "Smallville", has become the most significant character in DOS, and thanks to her Hollywood charisma has managed to recruit all the women who have actually become slaves to Ranieri's evil desires.

Significant differences are found between the "sex cult" and the "Seduced".

The first is a slow-moving series that deals with introspection on its protagonists, most notably Mark Vicente and Sarah Edmundson (director and actress, respectively) who try in real time to overthrow Raniri and atone for their actions as (very) cult leaders.

Throughout the season, the two also tried to help Katherine Oxenberg (a former actress, for example in "Dynasty," and a daughter of a royal dynasty, whose mother is Prince Charles' second cousin) get her daughter India out of Raniri's arms.

The second series is shorter (four episodes) and yellower.

It was created by India Oxenberg, who is now free of course, in which she reveals secrets from the dark world of DOS.

It has quite a bit of self-criticism in it, but mostly settling accounts with Rennier and a lot of yellow information on what it's like to be a voluntary slave (a kind of desire of course).

The significant advantage of the former is the fact that its protagonists document themselves live - we live the moments that led to Raniri's imprisonment and incarceration along with them, and even when knowing the end it's hard not to get excited.

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On better days.

Actress Catherine Oxenberg and her daughter India, 2007 (Photo: Charley Gallay / Getty Images)

Last month, just as the final episode of the season aired, Raniri was sentenced to 120 years in prison on multiple counts of trafficking in women, fraud and exploitation.

This was the catharsis to which all Nexium victims aspired, but it seems that this affair is still far from over.

Alison Mack is still awaiting her sentencing, Nancy Salzman Rniri's partner managed to disappear under the radar and also sisters Sarah and Claire Bronfman (yes, the empire's designated heiress) have meanwhile managed to come out without jail time even though they have contributed hundreds of millions to the cult's activities.

Most of all, Nexium's story is not over because the creators of the series made on it, even though some did a great job, still failed to distill the exact moment when people choose to give up their freedom and become enslaved to another person.

That is, if such a moment at all really exists.

Anyway, if you, like me, have developed a slight obsession with the affair and all its many ramifications, you can look for a special episode of "E !: True Hollywood Story" made about it, as well as a movie on the Lipty network, several books that have taken victims of the affair, and I'm sure at least one Hollywood movie Is already in development.

Sex is indeed familiar, but probably even more familiar cults.

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Source: walla

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