The pair then denied any knowledge of the cult’s illegal activities. NXIVM leader and founder Keith Raniere in 2020 was sentenced to 120 years in prison after being convicted by a federal grand jury in 2019 for racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, sex trafficking, attempted sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy.
“When the shocking and abusive behavior by some of NXIVM’s leaders were revealed, we ceased our participation entirely,” the statement continued. “We were not aware of or involved with those horrific acts, nor was our company. We strongly condemn the abhorrent actions of NXIVM and Keith Raniere and our hearts go out to the individuals they hurt.”
Stagwell declined to comment.
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NXIVM was a New York-based corporation founded by Raniere in 1998 that offered personal improvement classes as part of a multi-level marketing scheme and was later a front for human trafficking and sexual abuse.
Spruce Point Capital, an investment management firm that focuses on forensic research and short-selling, said Thursday it had concerns about the long-term downside risk of shares of beauty brand e.l.f., citing “grave concerns” over the company’s affiliation with Movers+Shakers, which had worked with the agency on several projects.
An e.l.f. spokesperson did not respond to several attempts for comment. Movers+Shakers is one of several e.l.f. agencies, which also include Shadow on creative and Tinuiti on media.
“Although the founders were not charged with any wrongdoing, we find concerning evidence to suggest that Movers+Shakers and/or its founders may have continued sympathy and/or affiliation with the teachings of NXIVM and former members who continue to support both NXIVM cult leader Keith Raniere and the cult’s tenets,” Spruce Point Capital Management Founder and Chief Investment Officer Ben Axler wrote in a statement Thursday.
It is worth noting the report also contained a disclaimer, stating: “As disclosed, Spruce Point has a short position in e.l.f. Beauty, Inc. and owns derivative securities that stand to net benefit if its share price falls.”
Horowitz began taking ESP classes in 2011 and was still taking classes when he co-founded Movers+Shakers in 2016, multiple people close to the matter confirmed.
The investment firm released a report detailing its opinions on the matter called “The Ugly Elf.” The report alleges Horowitz and Goldberg were friends with former “Smallville” actress Allison Mack, formerly a senior member of NXIVM.
A source close to the matter confirmed the pair had a friendship with Mack until news broke about abuse allegations and they “parted ways.” The person also said Horowitz and Goldberg had met Raniere on several occasions.
Several people have reacted to the report on TikTok and LinkedIn and called for accountability.