In case you don’t know, “Smallville” followed the adventures of young High School student Clark Kent for the ten years before he put on Superman’s tights and cape. Actor Tom Welling starred as Clark, and supporting actors included Kristin Kreuk as love interest Lana Lang and Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan, a sort of High School newspaper version of Lois Lane.
I heard of Mack’s arrest last April on sex trafficking charges and was stunned. In her role as Sullivan, her character started out with a girl-next-door charm and a nose for bizarre news stories, plus she was as cute as a button. Of course, that has nothing to do with who the actress was as a human being.
Mack’s in the news again, this time professing her innocence in documents filed in Brooklyn’s Federal Court, basically saying that if Scientology can get away with it, she should be able to as well. Notice, at no time does she actually say she never committed the acts of sex trafficking of which she’s accused.
More’s the pity.
The main article describing in detail Mack’s descent into moral and spiritual darkness is called Her Darkest Role: Actress Allison Mack’s Descent From ‘Smallville’ to Sex Cult published last May, a month after her arrest, in the Hollywood Reporter. It’s a long read but well worth it, because it chronicles how cults such as Nxivm, created by immoral sociopath Keith Rainiere, can take well-meaning but vulnerable people and turn them into both slaves and monsters.
Ultimately, Mack rose from the ranks of young recruit to the number two spot in the organization.
I suppose I’m writing this as a form of processing. When I was about 18 or so, I fell in with a local group (in Las Vegas) of the Unification Church, also known as the Moonies. I associated with them for several months, eventually discovering that their founder Sun Myung Moon believed (or was telling his followers to believe) that he was the reincarnation of Jesus Christ.
I didn’t have much of a religious background back then. If I did, I’d never have joined in the first place. I don’t remember giving them money. They didn’t do anything bad to me, and in their name, I never did anything bad to anyone else. I wish I could say I left them for all the right reasons, but to be honest, I just didn’t do commitment back then, so I drifted away.
They actually tried to recruit me back, which is a no-no once you leave a cult, but this time, I didn’t bite.
I can tell you that people join such groups because they promise belonging and purpose, which I really needed at the time. I suspect Mack and the many others like her who began the slow, relentless slide downward, felt the same way. To the degree that she still hasn’t come clean about what she has done, no doubt under the manipulative influence of Rainiere, she’s still deluded after “drinking the Kool-Aid.”
In the Hollywood Reporter article I mentioned, it also tells of other actresses who were involved, as well as those she tried to recruit. You’d recognize most of their names. The one thing the story left out was Mack’s parents. Mack once stated that she grew up in an unorthodox and progressive home, which begs the question of how far did she really have to fall? There’s no way to know, except that she is currently out on bail and under house arrest at her parents’ home in California. I wonder what conversations around the dinner table are like?
Besides writing to process, I suppose this could be considered a brief cautionary tale. At my age and with my experiences, I’m not particularly vulnerable to such scams, and by now, neither are my three children, but I do have two grandchildren. Perhaps you out there have children or grandchildren, some of whom are emotionally vulnerable, needy, and goalless. While Mack was recruited because she was a highly recognized actress in a then very popular television series that targeted young viewers, and who could recruit other high profile entertainers, not everyone targeted by these predators is famous.
I suspect the best way to inoculate young people against such madness is to raise them with a strong moral center and reinforce that with a great deal of love. If people feel like they already belong to a family, they are less likely to seek another one out in all the wrong places.
I’m sorry to see that the Moonies are still around, but then again, so is Scientology which, amazingly, is considered a valid religion in the United States. As long as organizations like this exist, people remain in danger of being victimized by them.
There are all kinds of dangers in the world, but some of the most insidious hazards are those that take control of the thoughts, feelings, and souls of our children. Don’t take anything for granted. It’s far too easy for vulnerable young people to succumb to cultist predators. Allison Mack, if convicted on all charges, could spend a minimum of 15 years in prison. Those are horrific consequences, and they could have been avoided. I feel sorry for her, but I feel even more sorry for her victims. Yes, she started out a victim, but then became something else.
Too bad in real life there wasn’t a hero to save her.