‘Seduced’ Will Answer All the NXIVM Questions You Have After ‘The Vow’

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For weeks now HBO has haunted us all with The Vow, its deep dive into NXIVM. But for all the questions it has raised and the interviews it has produced The Vow has largely side-stepped some of the most shocking details of this story, often choosing to focus on the cult’s whistleblowers rather than its countless victims. Seduced on STARZ is here to correct this oversight. The resulting docuseries isn’t merely a harrowing look into NXIVM’s sex trafficking ring. It’s an absolutely essential deep dive into this disturbing organization.

Whether because of The Vow, the countless articles about the organization, or streaming-savvy friends, you’re likely already familiar with the twisted story of NXIVM. Marketed as a self-help multilevel marketing company, NXIVM was founded by Keith Raniere and Nancy Salzman as a series of courses designed to help people with their careers. The organization utilized a series of therapeutic deep dives to get new members to share as much personal information as possible. But rather than using this information to help its members, NXIVM used it to bully them, sucking members further and further into its folds.

It wasn’t NXIVM itself but a subset within the group that received the most attention. The secret society DOS was initially sold to female members as a women’s empowerment organization. It wasn’t that at all. Instead, the group co-founded by actor Allison Mack, targeted young women and blackmailed them into entering a master and slave dynamic with other members. This was all presented as a form of sisterhood. In reality the members who progressed through DOS were often physically branded and groomed to sleep with Raniere as part of NXIVM’s sex trafficking ring. Anyone who opposed the organization risked their “collateral” being leaked, life-ruining secrets members provided in exchange for being allowed into the subgroup.

While The Vow tries to emulate what it’s like to become enraptured by a cult, Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult takes a more straightforward documentary approach. The four-part docuseries largely centers around India Oxenberg as she tries to make sense of her time in the organization. She’s the member whistleblowers tried to free during the back half of The Vow. Woven in between Oxenberg’s disturbing recollections of being part of NXIVM are other survivors’ testimonies and interviews with journalists, professors, and academic professionals who specialize in covering cults. If the point of The Vow was to get viewers to emotionally understand its victims, Seduced is here to help us logically understand them.

Basically every question you’ve had about NXIVM over the past couple of months can be answered by Seduced. Where did the seemingly limitless money for this organization come from? Why is there so much video footage? How did Catherine Oxenberg come to be involved in this cult? What happened to the other celebrities who took classes from this group? It’s all spelled out on STARZ clearly and concisely.

Yet Seduced truly shines through its depiction of NXIVM’s survivors. The Vow is often so wrapped up in its whistleblowers disbelief and the truly insane details of this organization that it’s easy to forget exactly why NXIVM and DOS are so deplorable. These organizations manipulated, blackmailed, and bullied young women to be used for sex. They branded innocent people while constantly threatening to ruin their personal lives. And they committed all of these crimes against women in the name of “feminism.” The Vow may temporarily forget these important sins but Seduced never does.

While we’re at the height of NXIVM madness that refocusing is essential. If you have even a passing interest in cults, Seduced is a must-watch. No other docuseries truly listens to the survivors of this horrific sex trafficking ring.

The first episode of Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult premieres on STARZ Sunday, October 18 at 9/8c p.m. New episodes will premiere Sundays.

Watch Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult on STARZ

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