Seagram’s liquor heiress, Clare Bronfman, has been sentenced to six years behind bars for her involvement in the NXIVM cult. Here’s 5 things to know about her.
Clare Bronfman has been sentenced to six years and nine months in prison for her role in the NXIVM cult. She pleaded guilty in 2019 to charges related to the notorious group and its leader Keith Raniere, who was also arrested back in 2018. “She used her incredible wealth as a means of intimidation, threat and exacting revenge on individuals who challenged its [Nxivm] dogmas,” Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis said during sentencing in Brooklyn federal court on September 30. The judge also ordered the daughter of the late Canadian billionaire Edgar Bronfman Sr. to pay a $500,000 fine. Five other members of the cult, including Smallville star Allison Mack, are still awaiting sentencing. Here’s 5 things to know about Clare.
1. She was reportedly one of the most “ruthless’ and “fanatical” devotees. Clare has denied being part of the secret “sorority” of women who have allegedly been branded with Keith and Allison Mack’s initials, but former NXIVM publicist Frank Parlato claims Claire is among the most “ruthless” and “fanatical” devotees.
2. She’s the heiress to the Seagram fortune. Clare is the daughter of billionaire philanthropist and former Seagrams chairman, Edgar Bronfman Sr., and half-sister to Edgar Bronfman Jr., the former chairman of Warner Music Group. Seagrams, which started off as a whisky distillery in Canada, grew to be one of the biggest multinational companies in the world (before it imploded and all its assets sold off.) None the less, it’s safe to say that Clare has bank, and reportedly, she’s spent more than $150 million of her fortune on NXIVM, according to Vanity Fair.
3. Clare was a former equestrian. She began riding horses as a young age, starting her equestrian career at age 17. In 2001, she achieved her first victory in international competition, winning the Grand Prix at CSI-A Eindhoven. At the pinnacle of her career, she was reportedly ranked 12th in the United States and 80th overall in the entire world.
4. She and her sister have reportedly helped keep NXIVM out of the spotlight. NXIVM has been accused of a being a cult for years, with accusations going back to 2003 (and Vanity Fair reporting about Clare’s involvement in 2010.) Supposedly, NXIVM has been able to stay under the radar because the company has a history of aggressive lawsuits, according to VICE. Ex-members claim that these legal actions, which have reportedly been funded by Clare and her sister (and fellow NXIVM member) Sara Bronfman, have been used to “silence and intimidate.” Over 15 years, NXIVM has filed lawsuits in Canada and the USA over everything from breach of confidentially agreements to defamation to criminal mischief, hacking and extortion.
5. She remained dedicated to NXIVM through the years. “The past few months have been deeply painful for me,” Clare wrote on the website of Executive Success Programs, the organization that “employs Keith Rainere’s revolutionary methodology” to unlock a person’s potential. “…I have seen my friends, associates, and the organization I care for come under fire. Some have asked me why I remain a member and why I still support NXIVM and Keith Raniere. The answer is simple: I’ve seen so much good come from both our programs and from Keith himself.”
“It would be a tragedy to lose the innovative and transformational ideas and tools that continue to improve the lives of so many,” she added. ”There have been many defamatory accusations made and I have taken them seriously. Determining the truth is extremely important to me, and I can say firmly that neither NXIVM nor Keith have abused or coerced anyone.”
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