It seems like cults, and the celebrity names who get caught up on them, are a pretty recurring theme in Hollywood. Former Smallville star Allison Mack was allegedly involved in a sex trafficking ring that used empowerment and enlightenment as a cover, and new details about the group, and Mack's purported involvement, have been revealed in a shocking piece from The Hollywood Reporter.
THR says after a 24-year-old Mack attended a two-day seminar in 2006 for JNess—the women's empowerment arm of Nxivm—she quickly became a part of the group. She showed up at numerous events shortly after and for the next 12 years. "Cults seek out people in Hollywood because those people have cultural influence," director Chapman Way, whose Netflix docuseries Wild Wild Country explores a cult, told THR.
Mack had been a young child star and remained in showbiz ever since. "She was so hungry for something bigger, some kind of sign [that would show] the purpose and meaning of life," said Step by Step actress Christine Lakin, a child star friend of Mack's in the '90s. That "something bigger" led her, eventually, to recruiting new "slaves," even forcibly branding them with a cauterized pen while other slaves held them down, sometimes against their will.
As various high-ranking women members of the group were no longer by Raniere's side, Mack's role in the organization became more prominent. She would effectively become the leader of a group that fell under the Nxivm umbrella, DOS, which stood for Dominus Obsequious Sororium, Latin for Master Over Slave Women.
"Her celebrity was her appeal," cult deprogrammer Rick Ross told THR, which writes that Ross has been "involved in decades of litigation against Nxivm and Raniere." He went on: "There were other women who were pretty, but she was the one who was so poised, so good on camera. She was somebody who could really sell it."
Reportedly, Mack attempted to recruit former 7th Heaven star Beverly Mitchell, as well as Emma Watson and Kelly Clarkson via social media, but with no luck. Mack and Raniere's trial begins Oct. 1, and both face 15 years in prison if convicted.
Mack and group leader Keith Raniere were indicted by New York federal prosecutors on three felony counts of sex trafficking as well as conspiracy to commit forced labor. Mack was released on $5 million bail last month.
Read The Hollywood Reporter's full investigation here.