Did Allison Mack and the NXIVM Sex Cult Destroy ‘Smallville’s’ Legacy?

In 1989, a flaming meteor burst by the Earth’s ambiance touchdown in a cornfield, marking the arrival of a younger Kal-El to a nondescript city in Kansas. Or no less than that’s the way it occurred on CW’s cult-favorite present Smallville, which follows a teenage Kal-El/Clark Kent by his highschool years as he evolves into the Superman the world is aware of at the moment.

The collection, which premiered precisely 20 years in the past—on October 16, 2001—and made a star out of Tom Welling, went on to turn into an enormous hit and nonetheless holds the title for the longest-running superhero present on tv, spanning 10 seasons till its finale in Might 2011.

However in recent times, the as soon as family-friendly present that many followers cherished for its life classes has turn into recognized for one thing a lot darker: a recruitment playground for the now-infamous NXIVM sex cult.

Smallville’s Allison Mack turned one of many most important faces of the scandal, accused of being founder Keith Raniere’s No. 2 in command, as he ran a sex-trafficking operation from the group’s headquarters in Albany, New York, whereas establishing chapters in Vancouver and Mexico.

Mack was integral to Raniere’s operation after being launched to the 60-year-old in 2006 and ultimately turning into a pacesetter of Dominus Obsequious Sororium (DOS), a secretive inner cult within NXIVM.

She would selectively recruit girls from the bigger group to turn into her and Raniere’s private intercourse slaves, requiring them handy over “collateral” in the form of explicit footage of themselves or letters falsely accusing family members of sexual abuse with the intention to show their loyalty. Lots of the girls had been sadistically branded with Mack and Raniere’s initials.

It was stunning for a lot of that the bubbly Mack discovered herself entangled in such an unpleasant internet. In any case, her character appeared so akin to her fan-favorite character of Chloe Sullivan, a trusted buddy of younger Superman and an intrepid reporter who was admired for her dedication to exposing the reality.

The actress admitted at her sentencing in April that she had certainly lured girls into the arms of Raniere, who she known as a “twisted man” hellbent on carrying out his “nefarious and emotionally abusive schemes.” (Mack is presently serving a three-year sentence in jail in California, whereas Raniere was sentenced to 120 years behind bars.)

One would assume that the legacy of Smallville is gravely tainted after no less than three of its stars had been members of the insidious cult. However loyal followers inform The Each day Beast that whereas they’re disgusted with Mack, they imagine her actions shouldn’t destroy a present that offered a refuge for individuals who wanted an escape from their private lives.

“The present was created lengthy earlier than the NXIVM stuff was in play,” explains Charles, who runs a fan account that highlights similarities between Smallville scenes and those from the Arrowverse. “When you need assistance otherwise you want some consolation, it’s an important present to search out power. When I discovered the present, my dwelling life went type of loopy. So, I discovered quite a lot of stuff from Smallville that was my world, and it helped me out quite a bit and I used to be very grateful.”

Tom Welling and Allison Mack on Smallville

The CW

Charles factors out that Mack’s sturdy feminine character of Chloe was a task that wasn’t usually seen on TV within the early 2000s.

“There have been so many individuals that put effort into making [Chloe] somebody that folks might look as much as,” he says. “Allison Mack’s choices I hope don’t have an effect on that. They shouldn’t. She doesn’t get the best to destroy what each different individual put into it to make this character so nice. Everyone on the present labored for 10 years to make it superb and hopeful—one thing that comedian ebook followers would get pleasure from, and informal followers would get pleasure from.”

Florence, who lives in Argentina and also runs a fan account dedicated to the show, says she found the superhero collection when she was 17 years outdated in 2007. Rifling by the video part at a report retailer, she got here throughout a DVD and determined to observe the primary few seasons, intrigued by the backstory of a teenage Superman.

“As quickly as I watched the pilot, I immediately beloved it as a result of we had been each youngsters, however I don’t have superpowers,” she laughs. “However it was good as a result of he was going by highschool, and I used to be going by highschool. It was so cool watching the primary seasons as a result of he needed to wrestle along with his highschool years and his love pursuits—stuff that I used to be additionally going by on the time, so I associated to that.”

Though the accusations towards Mack broke lengthy after the present had completed, Florence stated she was dismayed as a result of Mack’s character of Chloe had been one in all her favorites. And since HBO Max now has Smallville accessible for streaming in Argentina, Florence says it typically makes the collection laborious to re-watch.

“I truthfully could not imagine it,” Florence explains. “I didn’t anticipate her to do this [so] it was laborious to digest. It’s laborious to observe the present now and attempt to separate what she has completed from her character and the present itself. I attempt to deal with the present and on the episodes and pass over the entire Allison factor however typically it’s laborious.”

Nihad, a 22-year-old from Bosnia and Herzegovina, remembers how he was thrilled when he got here throughout Smallville round 2014, explaining that he had at all times been a fan of superheroes, each Marvel and DC.

He started a popular fan page on Facebook, hoping to attach with different followers so he might talk about the collection, since many individuals in his small nation had by no means heard of the present. “I occurred to make quite a lot of actually nice associates from this fan web page as a result of if you encompass your self with like-minded individuals, you begin to really feel extra accepted,” Nihad says. “You begin to really feel like there’s a neighborhood for me by which I can share my ideas and beliefs about sure matters, and I do know they’re going to know.”

Nihad says he solely not too long ago discovered about Mack’s NXIVM involvement. He agrees that she must be held answerable for her actions however says he has at all times linked with the characters quite than the actors, so it’s simple for him to separate the 2.

For him, it’s much more essential to maintain his fan web page working so newcomers to Smallville are reminded of all of the optimistic points of the present.

Giada, a fan from Italy, additionally solely not too long ago discovered about NXIVM over the summer season by watching a TikTok about Mack’s prosecution. “I can not defend her in any approach,” she says, noting that Chloe was her favourite character on the present. “I’m sorry that such an superior collection is linked to such a foul factor.”

I can not defend her in any approach. I’m sorry that such an superior collection is linked to such a foul factor.

Whereas Mack is commonly regarded as the principle Smallville NXIVM member, she wasn’t alone. It was really Kristin Kreuk, who performed Lana Lang, that introduced Mack to her first NXIVM assembly in 2006, after taking Raniere’s “Govt Success Applications,” touting itself as an intensive personal-growth course.

Following Mack’s arrest in 2018, Kreuk said that she had left the group around 2012 and had no idea about any illegal activity. “The accusations that I used to be within the ‘inside circle’ or recruited girls as ‘intercourse slaves’ are blatantly false,” she wrote in a tweet. “I’m deeply disturbed and embarrassed to have been related to NXIVM.”

Nonetheless, former NXIVM publicist Frank Parlato claimed to Vice in 2018 that Kreuk was not “only a mere fringe participant, she was a significant built-in individual into NXIVM—and was a coach, not only a pupil.”

On the time, NXVIM was sinking its teeth into the entertainment industry in Vancouver, the place Smallville was filmed, establishing a thriving chapter there. The Canada outpost was launched in 2009 by actress Sarah Edmondson (later a whistleblower), who helped carry Kreuk, Resurrection star Mark Hildreth, Hawaii 5-O’s Grace Park, and Battlestar Galactica’s Nicki Clyne into the fold. (Clyne was once married to Mack and still supports Raniere.)

By way of informal dinner events, the phrase about NXIVM unfold to Mack and her then-boyfriend Chad Krowchuk, who remembers how Kreuk sang its praises for serving to her overcome her excessive shyness.

Phrase of the alleged life-changing group additionally reached Smallville actor Callum Blue, who performed Basic Zod in seasons 9 and 10, main him to briefly take part 2011 following the dying of his father.


Actress Allison Mack departs the US Jap District Courtroom after a bail listening to in relation to the intercourse trafficking costs filed towards her on Might 4, 2018, within the Brooklyn borough of New York Metropolis.

Jemal Countess/Getty

“On the peak of my recognition, I went by some trauma,” he defined to E! True Hollywood Story in 2019. “My father took his personal life and I continued working and I used to be caught up on this spiral of chaos as a result of Hollywood is usually a chaotic and noisy place. And that actually opened me as much as seeking to the surface world to search out the solutions. I used to be in it for 5 days and I heard the identical factor time and again and once more.”

However it was Mack who was credited as being an all-star recruiter, reaching out to handfuls of different celebrities and even high-profile writers, together with ​​Samia Shoaib, Beverley Mitchell, Kelly Clarkson and Emma Watson, in addition to writers Amanda Hess and Jill Filipovic.

Michael Rosenbaum, who performed Lex Luthor, stated Mack would even attempt to recruit individuals to NXIVM whereas on set. “I bear in mind she was part of one thing… performing some self-help stuff,” he stated on a podcast in 2018. “I bear in mind pondering that sounds a bit of culty, possibly it’s not for me, however I by no means thought of it. Once I was on the present Allison was the sweetest, {most professional}, only a nice actress.”

Mack presently sits at a low-level federal jail in California, the place she’ll serve three years behind bars for her involvement in NXIVM. It’s a significantly mild sentence in comparison with chief Keith Raniere’s 120-year sentence, and the seven-year sentence of Seagram inheritor Clare Bronfman, whose fortune backed the cult.

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