When NXIVM was exposed as a cult dealing in sex trafficking in 2017 by The New York Times, its top members and their shady dealings were also exposed — including Smallville actress Allison Mack. In HBO's new documentary, The Vow, viewers see how leader Keith Raniere convinced people to join and Mack's influence in drawing women in. What was perceived years ago as an organization for empowerment and finding control in your life quickly devolved into something much, much darker.
Mack was originally recruited to NXIVM by her Smallville costar, Kristin Kreuk, in 2006, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Kreuk brought Mack to an NXIVM meeting in Vancouver, and the leaders of the group — who knew she was coming — swooped in to hook her. And while Kreuk — as well as other actors who joined NXIVM — didn't stay with the group for long, Mack found herself moving up the ranks to become Raniere's go-to for recruiting new members. According to several accounts from other actors who joined, they came for help with their careers or finding control over their hectic lives, believing that Raniere's methods would help them, but quickly realized that something was off about the organization. Not Mack, though.
NXIVM was blown wide open in 2017 by The New York Times, which reported that women had complained about being branded and forced to share intimate details and pictures of themselves as collateral to join, only for the women to be told by several authorities that nothing could be done to stop Raniere. The uproar worked, though, and in 2018, Raniere and Mack were both arrested. They were indicted on three felony counts of sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit forced labor, according to The Hollywood Reporter. What's worse is that Mack was believed to be running the "secretive sex cult" within the NXIVM structure called DOS, or Dominus Obsequious Sororium, or Master Over Slave Women, The Hollywood Reporter wrote at the time. This subcult was also known as The Vow.
After her arrest, Mack was released on $5 million bond and pleaded not guilty in her first court appearance. In 2019, however, Mack pleaded guilty to racketeering. According to E!, she said, "I am and will be a better person as a result of this." Mack has not yet been sentenced on those charges, due to court dates being pushed because of COVID-19. However, E! reported she's facing up to 40 years in prison.
In the meantime, Mack also faces charges in an additional lawsuit for allegedly recruiting new members to NXIVM and conducting illegal experimentation on them. She, along with Raniere and other NXIVM officials, have not yet stood trial for this case due to COVID-19.