Hot Mess Express: Karen Unterreiner on Dating Keith Raniere

Hot Mess Express: Karen Unterreiner on Dating Keith Raniere

This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp. We all have exes we wish we could forget—the narcissists, the psychopaths, the ruthless, small-handed cult leader currently serving #120years in prison. It’s a tale as old as time! But few people have lived that story quite like Karen Unterreiner did when, at only 18-years-old, she became romantically intertwined with Keith Raniere. Over the next 40 years, she’d go on to become a top level NXIVM trainer, a key figure of the Executive Success Programs’ leadership committee, and an overseer of administration (bookkeeping) and IT.

Now free of Raniere’s coercive control (read: fuckery), Unterreiner has spent the last five years recovering and discovering her true self. For today’s episode, we spoke with her about dating an actual monster, how NXIVM functioned as a company, (and why it was messy), and whether or not the technology they used was actually any good, or more like rubbing two sticks together. 


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Executive Producers: Sarah Edmondson & Anthony Ames

Production Partner: Citizens of Sound

Producer: Will Retherford

Senior Producer: Jess Tardy

Writer: Mathias Rosenzweig

Theme Song: “Cultivated” by Jon Bryant co-written with Nygel Asselin

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