Welcome to another episode of No Free Refills, a podcast dedicated to the messy, beautiful collision of pop culture and coffee.

In this week’s episode, hosts Tymika Lawrence and Ezra Baker drink wine and coffee and continue to socially distance, speaking to each other from their respective homes in New York City. Regular listeners of the show know that each episode of No Free Refills starts with a drink, and in this week’s show, Lawrence drinks an Austrian Weingut Schodl Niederosterreich Natura Blanc Pet-Nat while Baker sips on Ethiopia Nano Challa from Go Get Em Tiger.

The focus of Episode Six is the HBO Documentary The Vow and the Starz four-part documentary Seduced: Inside The Nxivm Cult.

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NXIVM, a New York-based company that offered “self-help workshops” has been around since 1998. In 2017, former members asked New York State authorities to investigate the company. The case widened in 2018 with allegations of “identity theft, extortion, forced labor, sex trafficking, money laundering, wire fraud and obstruction of justice“. The New York Times billed NXIVM a “sex cult”. In October, the founder Keith Raniere was sentenced to 120 years in prison for sex trafficking and other crimes.

HBO premiered The Vow, its nine-part series about NVIVM in August of 2020, and renewed the true-crime documentary for a second season in October. Starz debuted “Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult” in October 2020.

Lawrence and Baker discuss the documentaries about NXIVM: the intrigue, the drama, the whys and hows, the volleyball, and so much more. They dig into the nuances of the differences between the way stories were represented in the Starz series versus the HBO series.

Listen, babies,” Lawrence pleads, “don’t join a cult. Okay?”

Listen to the whole episode right now:

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A full transcript is available here.

No Free Refills is proudly presented on the Sprudge Podcast Network. No Free Refills is sponsored by Pacific Barista Series and Seattle Coffee Gear. Interested in sponsoring No Free Refills on the Sprudge Podcast Network? Get in touch.

Thank you for listening.