Vancouver actor Kristin Kreuk has spoken out to deny accusations she was involved in recruitment of women for an alleged sex cult, after the founder of NXIVM, a self-help organization whose classes she attended, was arrested.
NXIVM, founded by Keith Raniere, describes itself as "a company whose mission is to raise human awareness, foster an ethical humanitarian civilization, and celebrate what it means to be human."
Raniere was arrested in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on March 25 on sex-trafficking charges and was returned to Texas to appear in a U.S. federal court on March 26. He is being held without bail and may face up to life in prison if convicted.
FBI also raided the New York residence of NXIVM president Nancy Salzman on March 26.
NXIVM released a statement to address the situation:
"In response to the allegations against our founder, Keith Raniere, we are currently working with the authorities to demonstrate his innocence and true character. We strongly believe the justice system will prevail in bringing the truth to light. We are saddened by the reports perpetuated by the media and their apparent disregard for “innocent until proven guilty,” yet we will continue to honor the same principles on which our company was founded. It is during the times of greatest adversity that integrity, humanity and compassion are hardest, and needed most."
The 57-year-old Raniere is being accused by several individuals of luring young women into NXIVM and a secret sex society.
Raniere left the U.S. after the New York Times published an October 2017 article that featured several accounts from women who left the group, who alleged the organization was involved in activities that included elements of dominance and submission, nude photos, and more.
Also in October, CBC News published an interview with Vancouver actor Sarah Edmonson, who had taken classes from NXVIM's Executive Success Programs (ESP) to address challenges in her acting career.
NXIVM launched ESP in 1998 to offer personal and professional development programs.
Edmonson eventually helped to establish a Vancouver chapter of NXVIM in 2009.
However, in January 2017, she said she was invited to join a secret inner group. In March, she attended an intitation that required each inductee to undergo a painful branding of flesh.
Due to increasing doubts, Edmonson left the group and closed the Vancouver chapter in June. She later faced questioning from the Vancouver Police Department.
Several actors have been implicated in being involved with NXIVM, including Smallville costars Allison Mack and Kristin Kreuk.
However, on March 29, Kreuk posted a statement on social media to clarify that while she had taken courses from ESP, she was not involved in NXIVM's inner circle or sex slave recruitment.
She explained that she had taken ESP self-help courses to overcome shyness. She said that during that time, she never witnessed any illegal activity.
Kreuk said she left NXIVM five years ago, is "horrified and disgusted" by details emerging about the groups, and is "deeply disturbed and embarrassed" to have been associated with them.
Edmonson affirmed on social media that Kreuk was neither involved with NXIVM's inner circle nor recruited any women for sex slavery.
The 35-year-old Kreuk was born in Vancouver and got her acting career started on the local CBC TV series Edgemont. She currently stars on the CBC TV series Burden of Truth.