J’ness was a brainchild of “the smartest man in the world,” Keith Raniere.
He created it with the late Pam Cafritz and Marianna Fernandez in 2006.
Kristin Kreuk introduced Allison Mack to J’ness. In turn, Allison recruited her boyfriend, Chad Krowchuk, whom she dated from 2007 through 2009**. [**These dates are a correction from a previous article that said 2008-2010.]
This article focuses on Mack’s descent into the Nxivm cult, through the eyes of her then-boyfriend and the implications of that.
Chad and Allison were the same age. He witnessed first-hand Mack’s transformation from being a skeptic of Nxivm to a full-blown disciple. All the while, he remained skeptical. This appears to have driven a wedge between them, ending their relationship, and culminating in Allison’s Fall.
Chad gave an interview where he described his experience with Nxivm.
“Chad Krowchuk, who still remembers the curious way NXIVM rippled through his social network. He first heard good reviews from [Sara] Edmondson and her husband over dinner one night, and then from his acting friends Kristin Kreuk and Mark Hildreth a few weeks later. But it was his longtime girlfriend, Smallville actress Allison Mack, who finally convinced him to attend his first five-day training with her in Albany.”
Success did not come as easily to Chad as it had to Allison. While she had a secure, full-time acting role on a hit television show, Chad struggled to get acting jobs. Because of the disparity of their incomes, Allison offered to pay the exorbitant $30,000 fees for Chad to enroll in Nxivm workshops.
Chad watched Allison become converted by Nxivm. He said at first, she wasn’t so sure about J’ness/Nxivm. However, in 2007, after Allison took part in a weekend J’ness retreat – she returned completely changed. She was convinced that Nxivm had all the answers and she insisted he give it a try.
“That was the part that scared me the most,” Krowchuk says of his girlfriend’s sudden shift in perspective.
In an effort to keep their relationship intact, Chad complied.
Mack was Krowchuk’s most important relationship at the time, so he sucked up all his discomforts and got on a plane to Albany to meet the NXIVM inner circle. He remembers the Socratic question and answer therapies being very Freudian. It seemed just about any life problem could be traced back to a few moments in childhood—the apparent root of everyone’s mommy or daddy issues.
While Chad and Allison were taking Nxivm intensives, their social circle began to change dramatically. In the beginning, they would divide their time equally between Nxivm and non-Nxivm friends; but over time they socialized with only cult members.
Having a dinner party with NXIVM friends meant constantly dissecting your fears and insecurities. If somebody said they didn’t like sharing the food on their plate, for example, other group members would chime in with probing questions in an effort to overcome the block. What would you lose if you stopped the behaviour? Is refusing to share holding you back? Needless to say, it wasn’t a welcome conversation style for everyone.
Krowchuk noted that Nxivm seemed to benefit some actors, like Kristin Kreuk, who claimed that it helped her to overcome her shyness. However, other successful actors, like Nicki Clyne seemed to implode.
Krowchuk could see some of his friends overcoming their insecurities, like Smallville costar Kristin Kreuk, who battled career-stifling shyness. “I felt like I related more to Kristin than anyone there, I could see what the appeal is,” . . . But other acting friends grew more isolated, like Battlestar’s Nicki Clyne. “Nicki, I know she was the first example of somebody who had a decent acting career, she was doing quite well, and then she took the courses and went fuck it, I want to do this thing instead.” At the time, Krowchuk thought there must have been a greater good he couldn’t see, and decided to reserve his judgements.
Chad stuck it out for a couple of years but over time, things fell apart. He and Allison broke up in 2009. Chad did not think, at the time, that Nxivm was dangerous. He did not witness any criminal activity. Nevertheless, he could understand how its teaching methods could be used as a tool for wickedness.
The courses taught that everyone was responsible for their own reactions to the outside word. But that meant a NXIVM coach could turn just about any bad situation around and blame the student for their flawed response. “If a course like this is in the hands of somebody who means well, it’s harmless,” he said. “But I always felt like it would be really shitty if it was used in a negative way… It gets dangerous when you start stripping away meaning from everything.”
Before Nxivm, Allison had phenomenal success, many friends, and a loving relationship which would have probably led to marriage and children. But the sadistic criminal enterprise, Nxivm, would sink its grip into Mack and take her life down a treacherous detour. Nxivm would replace Mack’s life of success, marriage, friends, and family with a life of submission, abuse, isolation, humiliation, starvation, and crime. As Frank Parlato says of Nxivm’s leader, “Keith’s only goal was to destroy human beings.”
Is Allison more of a victim or perpetrator? Was she just a gullible puppet that Nxivm easily took over? Or did Nxivm provide an outlet for Allison’s hitherto unexpressed inborn inclinations?
Mack seemed to take to Nxivm like a duck to water while her boyfriend remained firmly on terra firma. Kristin Kreuk claims to have walked away stronger; while Nicki Clyne’s life appears to have, like Allison, crashed and burned.
Chad Krowchuk’s story is pivotal in understanding Allison’s Fall. Not only does it give a glimpse into Allison’s initiation into the Nxivm cult, it also illustrates how determined she was to continue with Nxivm. When the person closest to her, her intimate partner, one whom she generously doled out tens of thousands so he could join too, backed out – she dropped him.
Chad really tried, for Allison’s sake, to discover what this “greater good” was that Nxivm had for Allison. He and Allison must have had some long conversations about Nxivm and its inculcations. The bottom line is that Chad could see straight through the BS of Nxivm while Allison fell for it, hook, line, and sinker.
There is no doubt that her boyfriend tried to dissuade her from throwing away money to Nxivm. Unfortunately, Frankreport.com didn’t exist yet and Chad didn’t have the facts to realize how bad it actually was. But he knew Nxivm was completely contrived cultish nonsense. Allison, on the other hand, vehemently disagreed. Their relationship was so strong, that Chad took part in exhausting intensives to keep his girlfriend happy and she was willing to pay tens of thousands for him to be a part of it. When Chad wasn’t brainwashed into Allison’s way of thinking, Allison cut Chad out of her life.
On top of this, Allison was so determined to remain in Nxivm, she severed her closest loving relationship.
Allison appears to have put Nxivm above all else in her life. She would later give up her multi-million dollar career and conscript her parents. Seeing how devoted Allison had become to this cult, her parents probably knew that they had to submit to Nxivm too or lose their daughter completely.
Some may argue that she was indoctrinated by a well-organized cult and didn’t stand a chance. However, Chad , and many others didn’t succumb to the teachings to the extent that Mack did. Chad appears to have tried to convince her to leave but Allison wouldn’t listen and fought to stay in Nxivm.
Maybe Chad didn’t try hard enough but he was not privy to the many crimes of Nxivm. No one knew. If Chad was aware of what Nxivm was really doing, he would have no doubt fought harder to convince Allison to leave. Unfortunately for Allison, Chad gave up and left.
Allison was on a destructive path that she fought for and was determined to follow, even if it meant losing the man she loved and had been with for years. The responsibility rests entirely on Allison’s shoulders. She chose the Nxivm lifestyle and eradicated anything in her life that stood in the way. This shows that she was not just a gullible unsuspecting dupe, but a fighter who consciously chose her cause regardless of all of the doubt, dubious teachings and activities. This shows more determination (guilt) than innocence in her participation in Nxivm.
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Author: Frank Parlato