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Fact check: Media was not “silent” about the NXVIM case

Users on social media are sharing the screenshot of a 2019 tweet that misleadingly alleges the media did not report the NXVIM case, a U.S. sex cult founded by Keith Raniere that involved Hollywood actresses, business executives and other public figures. This claim is false.

Actor Allison Mack, known for her role in the TV series 'Smallville', exits following a hearing on charges in relation to the Albany-based organization Nxivm at the United States Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn at New York, U.S., July 25, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Recent posts of the screenshot are visible here , here , and here .

The screenshot of the tweet, dated July 19, 2019, reads: “Just so We are clear; We now have concrete proof, found guilty on all counts in the court of law, that there as a Hollywood sex cult that owned 11 daycares worldwide, found guilty of human sex trafficking. And the media have been silent about it… If this isn’t news, what is?”

SILENT MEDIA CLAIM

To allege “the media have been silent about it” is false. Multiple media outlets reported widely on the NXVIM case. Reuters coverage is visible reut.rs/2DEuUvu ; articles by The New York Times are visible nyti.ms/30y4LY7 and the Washington Post wapo.st/3fAyWC6 .

On the date of the tweet in this claim (July 19, 2019), NXVIM leader Keith Raniere was found guilty of a racketeering conspiracy, sex trafficking, possession of child pornography and other crimes ( here ). Raniere’s trial also received widespread coverage from the media (some examples here , here and here ).

Some of the public figures involved in Raniere’s scheme include former “Smallville” star Allison Mack ( here ) and Seagram liquor heiress Clare Bronfman ( here ).

DAYCARE CLAIM

The claim also mentions 11 daycare centers worldwide linked to NXVIM. This is a reference to the Rainbow Cultural Garden, an educational program founded by Raniere in 2006, described as a “revolutionary child development program promoting children's cultural, linguistic, emotional, physical and problem-solving potential” ( bit.ly/3kmdbtp ).

By April 27, 2018, the program listed 8 existing facilities in total, including locations in the U.S., Mexico, Guatemala, Spain and the UK, according to the latest version of the archived site Reuters was able to access (April 27, 2018, bit.ly/3i79Nkm earlier versions list an additional facility in Albany, see bit.ly/3fxofQT ).

According to the British tabloid The Sun, the program was inspected in 2017 by the UK’s Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills, after critics raised concerns over “the school’s teaching methods and links with the controversial Raniere.”( here )

Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui’s website published an in-depth report about the program in Mexico in 2019 ( here ). The article found that Raniere’s system was characterized by teachers without pedagogical certifications and children who developed learning difficulties. The piece also mentioned the involvement of Mexican public figures, including Emiliano and Cecilia Salinas Occeli, the son and daughter of former Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari.

Other reports on the subject are visible here and here .

ORIGINAL TWEET

The tweet featured in this claim was published by a now suspended account @RodSneaky ( twitter.com/RodSneaky ). Twitter told Reuters via email that the account was permanently suspended per violation of Twitter rules relating to “platform manipulation and spam” (see this policy here ).

Travis View, a conspiracy theory researcher, co-host of the podcast QAnon Anonymous and columnist of The Washington Post, has described the account as having been a “QAnon promoter” here and here .

Conspiracy theories by QAnon often allude to a “secret campaign” being waged by U.S. President Donald Trump against a sex trafficking ring, known as Pizzagate. This stems from a fake online report that a Washington D.C. pizza restaurant was cover for a child sex trafficking ring   here . The New York Times explains the conspiracy theory in depth   here  .  Some social media users are reviving these theories in the run up to the November election.

Some recent Reuters Fact Checks on similar conspiracy claims are visible here , here and here .

VERDICT

False. The NXVIM case was widely reported by multiple media outlets.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts  here  . 

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