Yesterday’s news is tomorrow’s TV show.
A TV series about NXIVM, the alleged sex slavery ring, is reportedly in the works, E! News has confirmed.
As first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, the show will be based on Barry Meier‘s New York Times exposé “Inside a Secretive Group Where Women Are Branded” and produced by Annapurna Television. A writer has yet to be attached and the production company is looking at the project as “a one-hour fictionalized scripted series that is inspired by actual events.”
Set to serve as an executive producers on the show, which has yet to find a network, is Westworld actress Shannon Woodward, along with Annapurna’s Megan Ellison, Sue Naegle and Susan Goldberg.
Here is Annapurna’s official description of the show: “When women join what they’re told is a secret sisterhood created to empower them, they find themselves psychologically enthralled and horrifically sexually enslaved to its leader—and their flesh branded with his initials.”
The October 2017 article serving as the inspiration for the show exposed the inner workings of NXIVM, a purported self-help organization started by Keith Raniere that was actually an alleged sex slavery ring. Raniere, who was called “The Vanguard” by his followers, was arrested last month in Mexico on charges of sex trafficking.
According to the federal criminal complaint filed against him, as the leader of the Albany, N.Y.-based NXIVM since 2003, Raniere “maintained a rotating group of fifteen to twenty women with whom he maintains sexual relationships. These women are not permitted to have sexual relationships with anyone but Raniere or to discuss with others their relationship with Raniere. Some of the Nxivm curriculum included teachings about the need for men to have multiple sexual partners and the need for women to be monogamous.”
The women were also submitted to a branding ritual, in which a symbol integrating Raniere’s initials was seared into their skin near their pubic region, the complaint further alleged. They were also tasked with errands and made to lose weight as Raniere preferred thin women.
Last week, Smallville actress Allison Mack was arrested for three charges (sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and forced labor conspiracy) after accused of being a DOS recruiter between February 2016 and February 2017. On Tuesday, she pleaded not guilty and was released on a $5 million bond and placed under house arrest.
The NXIVM website featured the following statement in response to the allegations against Raniere: “We are currently working with the authorities to demonstrate his innocence and true character. We strongly believe the justice system will prevail in bringing the truth to light. We are saddened by the reports perpetuated by the media and their apparent disregard for ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ yet we will continue to honor the same principles on which our company was founded. It is during the times of greatest adversity that integrity, humanity and compassion are hardest, and needed most.”