Last week, actress Allison Mack was indicted on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges for allegedly luring women into a sex cult run by Keith Raniere.
According to TMZ, the actress allegedly forced women into sexual slavery and used compromising photos or private recordings as blackmail to prevent them from leaving the cult. Mack reportedly forced victims to have sex with Raniere as a part of the organization, which was disguised as a women's empowerment group.
Now, a former colleague of Mack's named Samia Shoaib has come forward to Page Six with an account about how the Smallville actress once approached her.
Shoaib says she first met Mack during an audition for an NBC pilot back in 2013. According to her story, Mack aggressively pursued a friendship as soon as they met, sending her emails like: "Is there anything you have read that you can send to me? I would love to get into your brain a bit?!"
Shoaib remembers meeting Mack two different times in the month after the audition and each time Mack looked more "fragile and gaunt," developing dark circles under her eyes. "She was definitely physically suffering," Shoaib recalls. "There’s no question she was sleep deprived."
Despite those physical clues, Shoaib says that she's shocked to hear details of Mack's alleged involvement in the cult and had no idea anything dangerous was going on. Although she admits that Mack's attempt at friendship came across as desperate, nothing about it felt dark or dangerous.
Shoaib remembers Mack bringing up the Nxivm-affiliated group named JNess, but says her descriptions were always vague. She explains that Mack would describe it in brief sentences like: "It’s a bunch of women. We go on a retreat upstate, and we share our experiences and support each other."
Mack ended up adding Shoaib to the JNess email list and invited her to various events, including a 2015 gathering that labeled Mack as the "leader of JNess." The email said, "JNess invites you for an evening of connection."
Shoaib was easily able to avoid joining the group and tells Page Six, "I have to be honest with you I did not get any sexual vibes from her at all. It’s so hard to see her as a sinister character." Looking back on their emails together, the only real red flag was a slightly awkward email after a 2013 dinner in which Mack said: "Thank you for last night! I had a lovely time with you and [your friend]. You are both delicious women."
Appearing in federal court on Friday, Allison Mack plead not guilty. If Mack is convicted for her charges of sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, and forced labor conspiracy, the 35-year-old actress faces 14 years to life in prison.
FBI assistant director-in-charge William F Sweeney said in a statement on Friday, "As this pyramid scheme continues to unravel, we ask anyone who might have been a victim to reach out to us with information that may further our investigation."