The disconnect between “Smallville” actress Allison Mack's good-girl appearance and her alleged involvement in the depraved, celebrity-linked self-help organization-turned supposed sex cult NXIVM has been jarring.
According to NXIVM’s former publicist, Frank Parlato, Mack came up with the idea of a secret society of women within the organization who would be branded near their groin area.
“She was the principal recruiter of young slaves for [NXVIM leader Keith] Raniere,” Parlato told Fox News. “They nicknamed her Pimp Mack.”
Mack, 35, came face-to-face with Raniere on Friday, for the first time since the pair were charged with sex trafficking.
“Allison Mack recruited women to join what was purported to be a female mentorship group that was, in fact, created and led by Keith Raniere,” U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue said in a statement. “The victims were then exploited, both sexually and for their labor, to the defendants’ benefit."
And Mack isn't the only celeb linked to NXIVM. She reportedly married "Battlestar Galactica" actress Nicki Klein at the behest of Rainiere, and Catherine Oxenberg's daughter India, is also a NXIVM member.
While the headlines surrounding Mack and NXIVM have been shocking, they're nothing new. Hollywood stars have been linked to several cults whose members were accused, and in many cases convicted, of some of the worst crimes imaginable.
R. Kelly sex cult allegations
Several women have accused accused R&B singer R. Kelly of mentally and physically abusing them when they were undearge.
One of them accused him of giving her an STD when she was 19 years old and told The Washington Post she was unlawfully restrained.
A second one, Kitti Jones, told the BBC that the singer sexually abused her while they dated from 2011 to 2013 beginning when she was 27 and he was 44. She claimed Kelly groomed her and took her to his “sex dungeon” where he forced himself on her. She also claimed Kelly forced her to have sex with him and others.
She claimed she met a girl Kelly allegedly bragged he groomed since she was 14 years old.
Another allegation surfaced this week, when Lizzette Martinez told Buzzfeed she lost her virginity to Kelly in 1995, who knew she was underage at the time.
Meanwhile, a woman who identified herself as Michelle said her 27-year-old daughter “N” [whose real name was not used] got together with Kelly when she was 17. She alleged her daughter is currently being “brainwashed” and is a part of the singer’s “cult.”
The controversial singer was previously arrested in 2003 on child pornography charges. He was acquitted of the charges in 2008.
The Phoenixes, Rose McGowan and the Children of God
Actor Joaquin Phoenix and his siblings, as well as fellow actress Rose McGowan, were all raised in the Children of God, an organization for Christian missionaries that ultimately became controversial for its alleged encouragement of bizarre sexual practices.
Former member Flor Edwards told The New York Post in March the cult programmed its devotees to believe they were destined to a blissful afterlife in the Garden of Eden while the rest of the world perished in hell. Edwards claimed the Children of God practiced incest, sex between adults and children, as well as group sex.
Edwards also said the group practiced “Flirty Fishing,” which encouraged female followers to recruit new members by “show[ing] God’s love” through sex.
In 2011, McGowan told People Magazine she fled at age 9 with her father from the group, who feared she would be sexually abused.
“I remember watching how the [cult’s] men were with the women, and at a very early age I decided I did not want to be like those women,” said McGowan. “They were basically there to serve the men sexually – you were allowed to have more than one wife.
Back in 2001, Joaquin told UK’s Uncut Magazine he didn’t witness any of the group’s alleged sexual practices.
“It might have become a cult, but when we were there it was a really religious community,” he claimed. “It was a time when people were questioning the nuclear family of the ‘50s, people were saying they weren’t satisfied with the upbringing their parents had. Is there another way? My parents were just searching for an alternative way of raising their children.”
The Beach Boys’ Dennis Wilson and the Manson Family
Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys is said to have been associated with the Manson Family, a group that practiced free love as a commune where women were shared by its leader Charles Manson and its other male members in the 1960s.
However, Wilson was never officially a member and his only connection with the group was a purported friendship with Manson.
Dianne Lake, the group’s youngest member who shared a relationship with Manson when she was just 14 years old, told Fox News in October that Manson viewed the rock singer as someone who could help him spread his influence to the masses.
“Dennis really took Charlie under his wing,” said Lake. “Charlie was teaching Dennis how to play the guitar and I think he admired Charlie. He was proud to show him off to his friends. They had a good time together.”
In July 1968, Wilson scheduled a recording session for his friend. Mike Love, who was in attendance, supposedly wasn’t thrilled with the arrangement. Lake claimed when Manson didn’t get his way, he pulled a knife out. Consequently, the relationship between Manson and Wilson soured.
“They stole one of Charlie’s songs and changed the name,” she claimed. “So he wasn’t happy about that… It just wasn’t the same. I think they tried to mold him into being a rock star and Charlie wasn’t going for it. Because I think Charlie’s message was more important to him than being a rock star. He didn’t want the words to his music changed. He didn’t want to dress differently. He wasn’t happy.”
That same year, The Beatles released “The White Album.” Manson became so obsessed with the recording that he made "the family" listen to it daily. He believed it was an apocalyptic sign of a race war to come, Lake said.
Manson faced another setback in spreading his destructive gospel. In spring 1969, screen star Doris Day’s son Terry Melcher, a record producer who was also friends with Wilson, was curious to hear him sing. Although Melcher arranged Manson to perform at a studio, no record deal came through, Lake revealed.
Several months later, Manson ordered some of his followers to go on a two-day murder spree, which resulted in the deaths of seven people. One of the victims was actress Sharon Tate, who was eight months pregnant with her first child with director Roman Polanski. Her home was previously occupied by Melcher.
Manson died in 2017 at age 83.