The Vow seeks to reveal the truth about the NXIVM cult.

The Vow: this new documentary digs deep into the twisted NXIVM sex cult

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NXVIUM founder Keith Raniere is currently awaiting sentencing after being convicted of multiple charges, including sex trafficking and racketeering conspiracy. Now, the new documentary The Vow promises to offer viewers a deep, nuanced look inside the twisted organisation.

For a very long time, hardly anybody had heard of NXIVM. And those who had, of course, believed it to be nothing more than a self-improvement group dedicated to an elite clientele of heiresses, Hollywood actors and powerful CEOs.

Or, as NXIVM described itself on its own website, a “community guided by humanitarian principles that seek to empower people and answer important questions about what it means to be human.”

In 2017, though, all of that changed when a former NXIVM member came forward to the New York Times.

Detailing the branding and slavery rituals within the organisation’s women-only sub-group DOS (which stands for Latin phrase Dominus Obsequious Sororium, and can be roughly translated as “lord over the obedient female companions”), her story sent shockwaves around the world. 

And, quite suddenly, everyone had heard of NXIVM. 

Allison Mack has pleaded guilty to her involvement in recruiting women as sex slaves for the NXIVM cult
Allison Mack pleaded guilty to her involvement in recruiting women as sex slaves for the NXIVM cult.

The slew of media reports prompted a federal investigation into the cult, which led to the arrest and indictment of NXIVM’s founder, Keith Raniere, and his associate, Smallville star Allison Mack, on a number of federal charges, including sex trafficking. 

While Mack pleaded guilty to the racketeering and racketeering conspiracy charges brought against her, Raniere insisted he was innocent.

The jury, though, disagreed with him. In June 2019, he was convicted of racketeering, sex trafficking, forced labour conspiracy, and wire fraud conspiracy in less than five hours. 

After the verdict was handed down, Richard Donoghue, United States attorney for the eastern district of New York, told reporters Raniere was “truly a modern day Svengali” whose “crimes, and the crimes of his co-conspirators, ruined marriages, careers, fortunes and lives”.

“Raniere, who portrayed himself as a savant and a genius, was in fact, a master manipulator, a con man and the crime boss of a cult-like organisation involved in sex trafficking, child pornography, extortion, compelled abortions, branding, degradation, and humiliation,” Donoghue added.

Now, The Vow – a new documentary from Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning directors Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer – promises to offer viewers a deep, nuanced look inside the NXIVM organisation.

So, what is The Vow about?

Amidst claims by NXIVM participants of both profound transformation and devastating abuse, the series, like Noujaim and Amer’s previous films, seeks to reveal the issues behind the headlines and explore the emotional toll of unfolding events on these individuals.

Is there a trailer for The Vow?

Indeed there is, and it’s chilling.

Where can I watch The Vow?

The Vow is an HBO exclusive, which will be made available to viewers in the UK via Sky Documentaries and NOW TV.

When will The Vow be available to watch?

A release date has yet to be confirmed for The Vow, but it’s expected that the documentary will be released in the first week of November – just days after Raniere’s sentencing.

Will you be watching?

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Images: Getty/Sky/NOW TV

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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