HBO has released an ominous first teaser for its upcoming docuseries The Vow, which chronicles the wild story of NXIVM, a self-help group that was allegedly masquerading as an abusive sex cult. The show will premiere August 23rd on HBO.
The first teaser for The Vow is styled almost like an infomercial for NXIVM, using footage of founder Keith Raniere espousing all the positive changes his organization can foster in people. As the clip progresses, it takes on an eerier tone with what seem to be testimonials from possible members of the group: “It is manipulative, but it’s a good manipulation,” and “Our commitment is our power.” It ends with multiple voices describing the “vow” NXIVM required members to take — to integrity, honor, building more character and discipline. A vow of obedience and devotion.
What the teaser doesn’t get into, although the show surely will, is the scandal that rocked NXIVM and led to Raniere being found guilty on seven criminal charges last June, including racketeering, forced labor conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy and sex trafficking. Raniere is still awaiting sentencing but faces up to life in prison.
The Vow was directed by Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer. Per a press release, it will “take a deep, nuanced look at the experiences of a number of people deeply involved in NXIVM over the course of several years… [It] seeks to reveal the issues behind the headlines and explore the emotional toll of unfolding events on these individuals.”