After escaping and blowing the whistle on NXIVM, married couple Sarah Edmondson and Anthony “Nippy” Ames are channeling their lessons learned into the Acast podcast, A Little Bit Culty, which explores abuses of power and cult-like practices through conversations with people who have experienced it firsthand. Ahead of its return with season 2, ET has an exclusive preview of the all-new episodes, which includes guests, like former LuLaRoe retailer Roberta Blevins, who shared her story in the Amazon docuseries LuLaRich; Stolen author Elizabeth Gilpin and more.
When it comes to speaking to Blevins, Edmondson reveals the two shared a laugh over their similar experiences. “You know, the patterns are so obvious now. Like, even just the similarities between the sociopathic behavior of both of our respective leaders and the names of the different ranks that you have to climb,” she says, adding they were able to “find the humor in this dark content.”
And following the recent the sentencing of Allison Mack and other former members of NXIVM, the personal development company founded by Keith Raniererevealed to be a pyramid scheme and cult that forced its female recruits into sexual slavery, Edmondson and Ames have a conversation with former prosecutor Moira Penza about the implications of the case.
That conversation, they admit, is quite different in tone “because this one had a legal component,” Ames says, adding that Penza “really embodies this is how it works. This is how you put people away. This is justice. And it was just really interesting for me to have a conversation with someone can explain all the nuances of that.”
In addition to LuLaRoe and NXIVM, season 2 covers the Mormon Church, various yoga groups, and R. Kelly’s sex trafficking case, in which he was found guilty of multiple charges. And compared to the first season, Edmondson says it is timelier and more topical. “We’re diving in a little bit deeper,” she says, adding that the podcast will even connect the dots between Raniere and the R&B singer and how one case laid the groundwork for the other.
While each episode they try to address the fundamental question about when does devotion turn into abuse, it is also meant to be a place for healing. “We ask all our guests, ‘What are you doing to heal? How do you help people? What do you suggest?’” Edmondson says.
No matter what, “we want to be as responsible as we can with our platform, and help other people by having the honest, informed conversations we wish we’d heard when we were in NXIVM,” Ames says, with Edmonson adding, “We’re going to keep on getting personal this season, as we continue to reclaim our identities and provide a roadmap for people to wake up, leave abusive relationships, and to heal.”
A Little Bit Culty is produced by Citizens of Sound’s Will Retherford, in collaboration with executive producers Edmondson and Ames, and associate producer Jess Tardy. It is distributed by Acast and is accessible on all podcast players. Season 2 premieres Oct. 18.