Boyle Featured in NXIVM Documentary


Just released is a documentary, Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM, featuring clips of Professor Robin Boyle who was interviewed for this film. NXIVM was a business that purportedly ran workshops for self-improvement but was actually a cult. Its founder, Keith Raniere, was arrested in 2018 and charged with human trafficking, racketeering, and other federal crimes. He and his associates were tried and convicted in the Eastern District of New York. In 2020, Raniere was sentenced to 120 years in prison. The documentary can be found on the Tubi channel. The film describes the creation of NXIVM and how its followers were coerced into turning over private information about themselves in the form of collateral, duped into spending tens of thousands of dollars on improvement workshops in which advancement was unobtainable, and subjected to corporal punishment and psychological manipulation. When the press exposed that women were being branded with Raniere’s initials and being treated as sex slaves, federal investigation ensued.

Professor Boyle presents domestically and at international conferences on cults and the law.  Her articles have been published by peer-reviewed journals. In a 2016 law review article published by the Oregon Review of International Law, she proposed that human trafficking statutes be used to charge cult leaders with their crimes, which ended up as one of the successful charges in the NXIVM case. Her article’s title is referenced in the documentary.