Once hailed as the best sidekick to a young Clark Kent during her stint on Smallville, Allison Mack is known now for twisting her inviting demeanor to lure women into an abusive sex cult named NXIVM. April 8th, the former actress went to federal court in Brooklyn, pleading guilty to racketeering charges. She stands accused of recruiting sex slaves for the sex cult’s spiritual leader, Keith Raniere.
Last year in New York, Allison Mack was arrested for coercing and manipulating young women into a lifestyle of sexual servitude. Acting as the lead recruiter for the men of NXIVM, Mack is facing 15 years to life in prison for conspiracy, conspiracy to commit forced labor, and sex trafficking. Released from custody on $5 million bond, the actress has been expected to comply with investigative efforts and prosecutors building the case against cult leader Keith Raniere. Her involvement with the illicit organization left so many dumbfounded.
From Self-Help to Sadism
How could the seemingly innocent and mousy Mack be capable of convincing women to commit themselves to Master-slave sexual relationships consummated by pelvic brands? Those in the know say it began in 2006 with the popularity of the life-changing novel The Secret.
While living and filming Smallville in Vancouver, Mack became involved with the burgeoning bohemian lifestyle. Invested in the New Age counterculture, which was the center of such sexually liberating movements in the 60s, Mack was fascinated by empowering, self-help tools the book suggested. These tools and principles were used by Raniere’s cult, dispensed through ESP or Executive Success Programs.
Selling a dream of achieving goals and attaining status, overcoming traumas, and commanding confidence, the courses ranged from single to extended sessions. Those who could afford the high price tag would find themselves in the presence of Raniere via short videos fed into curriculum by instructors in conference centers.
The small group sessions focused on gleaning information from attendees, in a fashion similar to Scientology readings. Through this process, a source who attended the courses says it was easy to identify targets for recruitment to DOS, a secret society also known as “The Vow.” Preying on Allison Mack’s desire to assist and uplift others, recruiters manipulated her desire to make a contribution to female empowerment. But her place in the organization came at a price.
Those who wanted to join the elite circle were required to perform menial tasks and submit incriminating personal information in the event they ever attempted to leave. Photos, testimonials, any form of collateral was collected and saved for use if former members attempted to discredit the organization. Court documents state that “DOS slaves understood that if they told anyone about DOS, if they left DOS or if they failed to complete assignments given to them by their masters, their collateral could be released.”
Members were subjected to forced celibacy, sleep deprivation, and starvation. They took part in ‘readiness’ drills and suffered humiliation tactics. Later, at Allison Mack’s behest, the group engaged in branding ceremonies to mark the pelvic area of slaves. According to court documents, Mack would place her hands on the slaves’ chests and told them to “feel the pain” and to think of their master.”
Sobbing in court before Judge Nicholas Garaufis, Allison Mack pleaded, “I must take full responsibility for my conduct. I am very sorry for my role in this case. I am very sorry to my family and to the good people I hurt through my misguided adherence to Keith Raniere’s teachings.” She admitted to keeping a slave “to perform services” for her, and concealing the identity of Raniere’s role as head of DOS. While her sentencing is set for September 11th, Mack does not stand alone. In total, six people were apprehended for their part in the cult along with Seagram’s liquor heriess Claire Bronfman, who funded the organization.
Diddy Confirms Making The Band is Returning to MTV
Hoping to recreate pop culture history, Diddy and crew are on the hunt for the world’s most promising singers. The Bad Boy Records executive issued a global casting call through Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. But the fiercest competition will be using Smule.
For the first time ever, Smule has partnered with MTV. Offering their users a list of curated songs to choose from, wide-eyed prospects can use the app to create video auditions shareable on every social media platform. While anyone over the age of 18 is welcome to compete, contestants must also be able to comply with the rules and eligibility requirements. Looks like someone better be ready to get that Junior’s Cheesecake!
Hopefuls are already posting their talents across social media. Will you be joining them?
So So Deaf: Jermaine Dupri Critiques the State of Female Rap
During an interview, Jermaine Dupri was asked by two hosts to name his favorite female rapper. Believing he’d list Megan Thee Stallion or Cardi B, Dupri’s response caught both the hosts and music aficionados off guard. Comparing the current roster of popular femcees to “strippers”, Dupri’s glaring act of misogyny has gotten him checked by the artists themselves.
For decades, airwaves have been flooded with male artists rapping about their sexual prowess, bevy of hos, material expenditures, and sale of drugs. But Jermaine Dupri doesn’t find fault with the repetitive, and occasionally elementary, lyrics of his peers. His ire was directed toward women whose bars are about celebrating their bodies, turning up in the club, and dominating men. Failing to note the similarities in what content is released by both men and women in the rap game, Dupri posed a weak argument that female rap lacks lyrical diversity.
As pointed out in Cardi’s response video, there are plenty of female rappers that don’t write about their bodies at all, they simply don’t receive equal support. And as the acting CEO of So So Def, you’d think Jermaine Dupri would take the initiative to seek out talent that raises what he believes is the bar. But no, the “Grammy award winning songwriter and producer” has no female rapper signed to his label aside from Da Brat and Tyeler Reign. Tyeler is the winner of the fifth season of The Rap Game who unsurprisingly still raps about money and designer labels, the very things Dupri would find unimpressive.
Female rappers have been vocal in their disagreement of Dupri’s piss-poor analysis. Both Doja Cat and Cardi B made statements disagreeing with his comments. Ari Lennox even dropped a diss track as a response to his ignorance. But the best rebuttals have been references of Dupri’s track record. Twitter users have been quick to remind us that JD has a history of dismissing the career trajectories of women with potential to be powerhouses in the industry. Perhaps after this wake up call, Jermaine Dupri will take a bit of Doja Cat’s advice and look for the artists he wants to uplift.
Kim Kardashian West Wins $2.7 Million In Lawsuit Against Fast-Fashion Company
After bashing a fast-fashion company’s appropriation of a design commissioned by Kanye, Kim Kardashian West has come out ahead. The aspiring attorney has won $2.7 million in a suit against Missguided, a UK-based retailer.
In February 2019, Kim Kardashian waged war against fast-fashion companies like FashionNova over their lack of integrity. Targeting online retailers that quickly duplicate the designs of luxury fashion houses, Kim expressed her disappointment. She was furious her image was being used to promote the knock-off goods, an act she believed would weaken her business relationships with more esteemed brands. The sultry, black number designed by Thierry Mugler and gold ensemble commissioned by her husband led to a lawsuit which claimed to violate KKW’s trademark.
The Instagram post in question featured Kim Kardashian in the custom gold creation and an unnamed model in the replica. Captioned “The devil works hard but Missguided works harder”, the brand taunted KKW, stating the look would be available in just a few days. But by tagging Mrs. West attorneys alleged Missguided used her “persona and trademarks” to sell duplicates despite the absence of a business relationship.
The lawsuit stated Missguided’s use of Kim’s marks were likely to cause consumers to mistakenly believe that she was associated, sponsored, or endorsed the company and its websites. The lawsuit continued that consumers already voiced such concerns, citing social media posts and articles that mistakenly referred to the content as collaborations. However, Missguided refused to respond to the lawsuit which resulted in a default judgment.
Demanding the company cease and desist, a California judge ruled in Kim’s favor, ordering Missguided to pay $2.7 million in damages and attorney fees. But Kim’s history of being accused of co-opting the designs of indie creatives has complicated the public’s reception of her win. Twitter users are noting that Kim has repeatedly appropriated the culture of others under the guise of “paying homage.” Though the basis of the win is important, fighting larger entities or public figures over original content may prove harder for indie brands. Having only been established in 2015, the language of fashion design copyrights leaves them easily exploitable and smaller designers may be unable to afford the exorbitant fees to protect their content.
Do you think Kim deserved to win the lawsuit? Should smaller designers seek restitution for creations that have been pilfered by public figures?
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