It was the kind of story Hollywood might dream up — but not only was it real, it had some ties to the industry. Starz has set Sunday for the premiere of Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult, a four-part documentary series that takes a first-person look at the sex cult that was broken open in April 2018. It premieres at 9 p.m. this Sunday, October 18. Watch the trailer above and see the key art below.
Hailing from the filmmaking team of Cecilia Peck and Inbal B. Lessner (Brave Miss World), Seduced follows the harrowing journey of India Oxenberg, the daughter of former Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg and a descendant of European royalty — who was seduced into the modern-day sex-slave cult NXIVM. More than 17,000 people, including India, enrolled in its “Executive Success Programs,” a front for the cult and a hunting ground for its leader, master predator Keith Raniere — who was convicted on seven counts in July 2019. Women in DOS, a secret master-slave society within NXIVM, were sex-trafficked and branded with a cauterizing iron. Both about a mother trying to save her daughter and recovery from trauma, the series follows India’s seduction, indoctrination, enslavement, escape and role as “co-conspirator” in assisting the U.S. government with bringing down Raniere and his criminal enterprise.
In addition to being a rigorous and unsparing examination of India’s abuse and her own culpability, Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult, explores how India and a chorus of other women are still grappling to make sense of their experience.
Peck and Lessner serve as executive producers alongside Daniel Voll, Alexandra Milchan and India Oxenberg.
“I had been targeted for recruitment by NXIVM, so the subject was of personal interest,” Peck said. “In many ways, India could be anyone’s daughter. She was a young woman victimized by a serial predator, and I wanted to find out how this 19-year-old girl had become indoctrinated. There was a fearless quality to her inquiry that we were drawn to.”
Added Lessner: “The most common question people have is, ‘Why didn’t she get up and leave when no one was forcing her to stay?’ The brave women who shared their stories with us have struggled with self-blame and shame for falling prey to this cult. All of their voices were instrumental in telling a very complex story, which we hope shines a light on systematic manipulation and coercion.”