Although the general certainty of modern life can make these things rather difficult to trace, one of the strangest pop culture moments in 2018 came all the way in April, when actress Allison Mack – as well as someone who starred in a baby Superman Series Smallville for 10 seasons at CW and The WB – was arrested in connection with allegations that he was one of the masterminds behind a strange cult of sexual slavery. Mack has been accused (along with the founder of "movement", Keith Raniere) as one of the leaders of a group called NXIVM, referred to as a women's self-help group, but is often accused of deliberately working to destroy members' egos so that Raniere can have sex with them. (Mack, presumably, was the person who introduced branding – like, with hot iron – into group psychological practices.) Among the various things that the organization said were needed by its members: Guarantees, in the form of nude photos and recognition of errors, would be released if members pass through groups, and specifically to keep "slaves" in the organization-esque pyramid scheme structure in line.
If that sounds a bit unclear, in terms of legality, well, the Brooklyn Federal Court also thinks so; among the allegations charged against Mack, one for the conspiracy of forced labor, accusing him of keeping a number of women working under him through threats. Per DeadlineHowever, Mack's lawyer has issued a novel rebuttal about claims: Scientology did it first.
No, for more details, the section "burning your initials into other people's pubic areas" – called NXIVM originals – but Mack's lawyer said that there was no fundamental difference between group practice, and Scientology's policy for the brand that left the organization as a "dissident," was cut off. from family and friends who remain in the group. That was relevant thanks to the 2009 court ruling, which found that the psychological pressure did not rise to the level of "serious danger" needed to trigger the country's forced labor law, so if Mack was guilty, his arguments went on, Scientology must.
On the one hand, drawing a direct comparison between your group and one with a cloudy reputation like Scientology feels like a pretty hopeless step in terms of legal tactics. However, on the other hand, that might be a way for Mack and Raniere to enter into a number of court protections that have been carved out by the group's legal team that has been known for years. Mack has been out on bail most of the year, but neither he nor Raniere face a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison if they are found guilty of all charges against them.