In a new report from The New York Times Magazine, that at least in part seems like it was reported before the arrest of NXIVM cult leader Keith Raniere, high-ranking member Allison Mack acknowledges her role in the now-infamous practice of ritual branding that’s been reported by former members. In a conversation that took place in Mack’s Brooklyn home, the actress claimed credit for it as a kind of loyalty pledge:
In her apartment, I was surprised to hear Mack take full responsibility for coming up with the DOS cauterized brand. She told me, “I was like: ‘Y’all, a tattoo? People get drunk and tattooed on their ankle ‘BFF,’ or a tramp stamp. I have two tattoos and they mean nothing.’” She wanted to do something more meaningful, something that took guts.
According to the Times Magazine report, women were inclined to shout, “Badass warrior bitches! Let’s get strong together” to push through the pain of being burned with a cauterizing pen. And Mack described the group of Masters (veteran members) and slaves (new recruits) as being “like a little family” — which has lately been a popular term in the media for when people want to talk about hurting others but doing so with the right intentions. Mack was arrested at the end of April for her role in NXIVM and has been charged with sex trafficking and forced labor. She is currently out of detention on bail.