Smallville actress Kristin Kreuk has responded to recent reports she was involved in the secretive upstate New York group NXIVM, which has been likened to a cult and accused of branding women.
She said in a statement to Elle, which she also released via Twitter, that she was involved with NVIVM when she was 23 years old in "what I understood to be a self-help/personal growth course that helped me handle my previous shyness, which is why I continued with the program." She adds: "The accusations that I was in the 'inner circle' or recruited women as 'sex slaves' are blatantly false. "
Federal authorities on Tuesday raided an upstate New York residence connected to the group accused of coercing female followers into having sex with its leader, Keith Raniere, and getting branded with his initials.
The raid of the home of NXIVM president Nancy Salzman came on the day Raniere appeared in federal court in Texas. Raniere had been detained earlier this week on charges of U.S. sex trafficking and forced labor in Mexico, where authorities allege he was hiding out in a luxury villa in the company of several women followers.
Raniere left the United States last year after The New York Times reported some women who joined a secret sorority within his Albany-based group were branded with a symbol that included his initials.
The women told investigators they were subjected to "master-slave" conditions in which they were emotionally and physically tormented. NXIVM has called the women's complaints "lies" and denies that it is a cult.
Kreuk's statement to Elle reads in full:
When I was about 23, I took an Executive Success Programs/NXIVM "intensive," what I understood to be a self-help/personal growth course that helped me handle my previous shyness, which is why I continued with the program. I left about five years ago and had minimal contact with those who were still involved. The accusations that I was in the "inner circle" or recruited women as “sex slaves” are blatantly false. During my time, I never experienced any illegal or nefarious activity. I am horrified and disgusted by what has come out about DOS. Thank you to all of the brave women who have come forward to share their stories and expose DOS; I can’t imagine how difficult this has been for you. I am deeply disturbed and embarrassed to have been associated with NXIVM. I hope that the investigation leads to justice for all of those affected.
The Vancouver-born actress starred in The CW series Smallville from 2001-2009 as the character Lana Lang, as well as the Beauty and the Beast TV series.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.