Nov 7, 2023


Around the Web, Around the World

A Little Bit Culty

Unveiled: Yasmine Mohammed on Extreme Fundamentalism

Yasmine Mohammed attended Islamic schools and wore a hijab starting at the age of nine, all while living in Vancouver, BC. In this episode, she invites us into her childhood to get a taste of what it was like to live in two different worlds – the West and extreme fundamentalist Islam – while fitting into neither. She pulls back the curtain on the culty dynamics, indoctrination, and dehumanization characteristic of both worlds. We learn a little about her forced marriage to a member of Al-Qaeda at the age of 19. And she illuminates a Bill Maher moment with Ben Affleck that she believes exemplifies the West’s deeply problematic approach to radical Islam.

Check it out.


Yasmine Mohammed is founder and President of Free Hearts Free Minds – an organization devoted to those free thinkers in Muslim-majority countries whose lives are at risk for who they love or the words they utter. She’s a courageous and eloquent writer, podcaster, and human rights advocate as unafraid to criticize conversation police as she is to speak up against radical Islam. Yasmine is the author of Unveiled: How Western Liberals Empower Radical Islam, a memoir/polemic that explores her own history and how Western liberalism gets in the way of actualizing liberation. She’s host of the podcast Forgotten Feminists that features inspirational women from restrictive religious backgrounds. And she speaks on Islamophobia and the Canadian motion against it to universities, organizations and major news agencies.

Episode available since November 06, 2023

Oct 31, 2023


Around the Web, Around the World

A Little Bit Culty

Seek Safely: Jean Brown & Dr. Glenn Patrick Doyle on the Self-Help Industry

The self-help book industry alone is expected to grow from $10.5 billion annually to $15 billion by 2025. Of course, with that kinda dough floating around, a raging demand for personal growth has led to a plethora of tools aimed at achieving it. Unfortunately, there are people that seek to take advantage of this, leading to dangerous—or even deadly—consequences.

When Kirby Brown was only 38 years old, a man named James Arthur Ray pushed her to stick out an incredibly hot sweat lodge session in Sedona, Arizona. A self-proclaimed “guru,” Ray allegedly urged participants to disregard their physical discomfort, even ignoring their pleas for help. Tragically, Brown and two other individuals lost their lives during the hellish experience.

On today’s episode, we’re joined by two guests: Jean Brown, who is Kirby’s sister and the co-author of This Sweet Life: How we lived after Kirby died, a memoir she wrote with her mother about what happened to Kirby and its larger implications for the self-help industry. Joining her is Dr. Glenn Patrick Doyle, a psychologist who has teamed up with Jean and the SEEK SAFELY non-profit org and podcast. Founded by George and Ginny Brown, Kirby and Jean’s parents, SEEK SAFELY is aimed at passing legislation within the self-help industry to prevent abuse in the future.

Episode available since October 30, 2023

Oct 25, 2023


Around the Web, Around the World

A Little Bit Culty

Desperately Seeking Soulmate: Alice Hines on Twin Flames Universe

Let’s admit it. Despite the billions of people on earth, the world can be a friggin lonely place. And for the VIP-lonely among us, Jeff and Shaleia charge a mere $8888 for all the answers to life’s big love questions. If you’re seeking a first-person narrative about what it’s like to pay to play in Twin Flames Universe, check out Keely Griffin on ALBC.

For this show, we features Alice Hines – the Emmy-award winning investigative journalist and executive producer of Desperately Seeking Soulmate: Escaping Twin Flames Universe, a new docuseries chronicling the two kooky, creepy founders Jeff – a real Keto Keith Raniere – and his partner Shaleia as they go from run-of-the-mill influencers to building what Vice has called a ‘cult empire’.

Hines dives right into her curiosity around the creepy repercussions of internet culture on IRL relationships and how that led her to explore, report on, and be invited into Jeff and Shaleia’s home where she filmed the duo. You can watch that footage in the docuseries.

For now, take a listen for the inside scoop on the culty couple.

Episode available since October 23, 2023

Oct 17, 2023

Around the Web, Around the World

A Little Bit Culty

Healing In Public: Sarma Melngailis on Life After Netflix

Just before Netflix premiered its sensational docuseries “Bad Vegan,” Sarma Melngailis spoke exclusively with ALBC about all the shit she endured with culty conman Mr. So-called Fox. Go back and check out that episode for the grisly details and now foreboding hope that Netflix would shed light – not shade – on the confounding circumstances that led to the demise of Sarma’s brand One Lucky Duck and her beloved restaurant Pure Food and Wine. If you didn’t already know it, Pure Food and Wine was hip, sexy, nutritious, and delicious. It was raw vegan food with style in Gramercy Park. Manhattan where, on any given night, you could run into Janet Jackson, Bill Clinton, Stevie Wonder, or Alec Baldwin. It was the shit. Until it wasn’t.

Netflix was ready.

Through all the pomp and circumstance, we at ALBC can’t help but look into the dark side of cult survivor narratives turned entertainment. Now that the trauma-coaster of “Bad Vegan” has slowed, we thought it important to let Sarma set the record straight.

Check it out.

NOTES:Sarma Melngailis is brilliant. She grew up in Newton, MA, graduated with two economics degrees including one from the Wharton School. She rocked the financial world at Bear Stearns and Bain Capital. And she dabbled in high-yield investment funds before realizing finance in late-stage capitalism fuckin sucks so she left to get a degree in feeding people from the French Culinary Institute. Thus began her life in the world of food. Upon discovering raw vegan food, she decided – with a partner – to open Pure Food and Wine; chronicled her transition from eating whatever/everything to eating only raw vegan food in Raw Food Real World; and then wrote Living Raw Food. Now, she lives in Harlem with her rescue dog, Leon. We love ‘em both dearly.

Episode available since October 16, 2023

Oct 10, 2023


Around the Web, Around the World

A Little Bit Culty

Unsilenced: Meg Appelgate on the Troubled Teen Industry

As a teen, Meg Appelgate was gooned – that is, legally kidnapped – from her home in the middle of the night and taken to a lockdown facility in Idaho, then shipped to Montana where isolation, chemical sedation, and brainwashing were the norm…for a day of underage drinking. She survived and went on to develop and recruit for similar organizations. Then she woke up and channeled her indignation toward making positive change.

Right now, anywhere from 120,000 to 200,000 or more young people are institutionalized as private equity firms rake in tens of billions of dollars from the “Troubled Teen Industry.” Meg Appelgate shares her story and how Unsilenced, the organization she founded, can help.


Meg Appelgate is a survivor determined to empower other survivors of institutional child abuse. She’s founder and CEO of Unsilenced, a non-profit org serving victims caught in the web of the Troubled Teen Industry. She’s also VP, Trustee, and Managing Director of the Gochnauer Family Foundation that provides financial help for families and children. She serves on the boards of a domestic violence shelter and a therapeutic riding center. When she’s not funding and implementing new ideas to help people thrive, Meg loves to explore new places with her husband and four children.

Episode available since October 09, 2023

Oct 3, 2023


Around the Web, Around the World

A Little Bit Culty

Shiny Happy Warrior: Lindsey Williams on the IBLP

Have you seen Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets on Prime yet? Ooooof! We have and it’s really, really good. Also hard to watch. Also a bit infuriating. In other words: A culty docuseries. If you’ve already followed the Duggars, the reality TV mega-family behind the hit show 19 Kids and Counting, you know it’s all a lot to process. Shiny Happy People gets deep into the weeds of the story behind their story: Chock-full of disturbing insights into their scandals, their demons, and the radical organization underpinning the whole shitshow. That would be the Institute in Basic Life Principles, an evangelical Christian ministry on steroids.

Lindsey Williams is featured in Shiny Happy People, and is here to talk with us in this episode about her experience as a former IBLP member, and her personal journey from dug in to “fuck this I’m out.” Our chat covers IBLP founder Bill Gothard and his deranged dogma, what it was like living in the orbit of the embattled Duggar clan, and how Lindsey is doing now that she’s a self-proclaimed Shiny Happy Warrior for cult awareness.

And just as a heads up, please know that this IBLP organization has some seriously shady philosophies on things like sexual abuse, so this episode may get into gritty territory. Listen with care.

Episode available since October 02, 2023

Sep 27, 2023


Around the Web, Around the World

A Little Bit Culty

A Radical Awakening: Dr. Shefali on Guru Culture

While we have no shortage of specialists on this show, having an Oprah-backed expert on this week’s episode is exceptionally riveting. Especially since it’s Dr. Shefali Tsabary (!), a renowned authority on family dynamics and personal development who’s published four books (three New York Times best-sellers) and teaches classes and seminars across the globe. No wonder one of America’s most powerful media titans is obsessed…

One of Dr. Shefali’s landmark books, The Conscious Parent, imparts mindfulness tools that can build sturdier and more authentic relationships between parents and children. In fact, authenticity plays a major role in everything we discussed, which includes guru culture, the patriarchy (and how it doesn’t need to be seen as innately bad, just like a matriarchy), societal pressure on mothers, and even the individual-effacing dangers of ritualization within any organization or system.

Episode available since September 25, 2023

Sep 19, 2023


Around the Web, Around the World

A Little Bit Culty

The NXIVM Extravaganza | Moira Kim Penza, Robert Gavin, and Vanessa Grigoriadis

Hey Listener, you asked for a greatest hits medley of all our NXIVM related guests in one or two meaty episodes.And hear ye, hear ye we have delivered. This is our second NXIVM extravaganza, and we hope you dig it. We’ll be back soon with all new episodes, and until then you can always hang out with us on Patreon at if you can’t get enough of our culty, culty content. But now…let’s dig into the main course shall we?

Keith Raniere’s trial was at the center of The Vow Season 2 – and this episode is taking you even further into the courtroom circus.

We’re featuring insights from three people who had as close a look as one could get.

First, you’ll hear from Moira Kim Penza – the prosecutor who brought Keith Raniere to justice. Her accomplishments are mighty: Like Keith’s conviction on all counts including racketeering and sex trafficking and a brisk 120 year sentence. Moira’s groundbreaking approach to the case has been credited with paving the way for other sex trafficking prosecutions against powerful individuals. In other words: She’s a total badass. In this episode, Moira sits down with Sarah and Nippy to talk about what it’s like to take on a world-class dirtbag (our wording, not hers) and what really chaps her ass about NXIVM’s Voldemort. More about today’s guest: Moira is now in private practice as a litigator, and a partner at Wilkinson Stekloff. Crain’s New York business named her in the 40 under 40 list, she’s been ranked as one of Bloomberg Law’s 40 under 40, and her legal analysis has been featured in The NY Times, CNN, ABC, NPR and Daily Beast.

Next you’ll hear from Robert Gavin. Robert has been a news reporter for 28 years, having also worked for two years as an editor. Originally from Staten Island, Gavin began his career by covering the New York City police and fire departments, the NYS Capitol, State and Federal Courts, various murder trials, and cases involving terrorism, the mafia, street gangs, and political corruption. And eventually, Robert’s role in the NXIVM trials and their coverage would play a crucial part in bringing down Keith Raniere.

Finally, you’ll hear from Vanessa Grigoriadis, who is an award-winning longform journalist and podcaster, having published profiles on the likes of Karl Lagerfeld, Lady Gaga, and Arianna Huffington. So how did she get tied up in NXIVM’s bullshit while also reporting on the cult? Well, the short answer is: anyone and everyone is susceptible to coercive control and persuasion, even members of the press. The long answer? Well, you’ll just have to listen to find out.

Without further adieu. Here’s our NXIVM medley part two.

Episode available since September 18, 2023

Sep 15, 2023


Robots are pouring drinks in Vegas. As AI grows, the city's workers brace for change

Walk any direction in Las Vegas and it's easy to find machines doing human work.

Check-in kiosks have replaced people at the front desk of hotels. Text-bots now make restaurant recommendations instead of a concierge. Robots can serve food, and behind the bar, machines are pouring out drinks.

Automation and technology replacing jobs has long been a conversation in Nevada's most populated city. Studies show that between 38% to 65% of jobs there could be automated by 2035.

With the use of artificial intelligence on the rise, the economy of this city --which relies on tourism and hospitality — is at an inflection point, as companies look to technology to reduce labor costs.

Sep 12, 2023


Around the Web, Around the World

A Little Bit Culty

The NXIVM Extravaganza | Ft. Mark Vicente, India Oxenberg, Susan Done, and Karen Unterreiner

Well hello there, A Little Bit Culty listener. How’d your summer go? What’s the haps? This is actually our out of office greeting talking to you, because we’re away from the studio right now investigating some kickass episodes for our new season. But we didn’t want to leave you hanging…so we went through the archives to make you a veritable Dairy Queen Blizzard of culty goodness from some of our fan favorites. We’ll be back soon with all new episodes, but until then you can also find us each week on Patreon where we’re serving up fresh episodes and content on the regular. So today’s episode is…well…in our wheelhouse. If you’re a listener of this particular show, you’re already familiar with NXIVM – but on today’s episode we are taking a closer look at the cult featured in the HBO series, The Vow, starring yours truly. (Whose got four thumbs and once helped bring NXIVM down? THESE GUYS). Joining us are 4 people who understand the inner workings of NXIVM better than almost anyone else.

First up is Mark Vicente. He’s The Vow’s Stone cold silver fox, a film-maker turned whistleblower, and an internationally renowned sweetheart. He’s the guy who originally recruited me, and the guy who raised hell to help bring it all down. Also, he’s the lucky husband of the one and only Bonnie Piesse, aka, Bonfire.

Next is India Oxenberg, who went through hell and back in NXIVM’s darkest chapter: DOS. From forced starvation, and sleep deprivation, to multiple forms of mental and sexual abuse, to a devastating years-long separation from her family. God damn we’re glad she got out and that she’s THRIVING now. .

Ater India, we’ve got Susan Dones….The one-woman wrecking crew who served as her own legal representation in a series of court battles after she left the organization. Susan was way ahead of the curve on calling bullshit Keith Raniere and his flying monkeys. She also paid dearly for it.

And finally, is Karen Unterreiner, who at only 18-years-old, became romantically intertwined with Keith Raniere. Over the next 40 years, she’d go on to become a top level NXIVM trainer, a key figure of the Executive Success Programs’ leadership committee, and an overseer of administration (bookkeeping) and IT. Which is all to say: There is much tea to spill. So much tea. So if you’re sick of hearing us talk about NXIVM, you better turn around now. You’ve been warned. Everybody else? Let’s rock.

Episode available since September 11, 2023

Sep 5, 2023


Around the Web, Around the World

A Little Bit Culty

Scientology SUCKS | Ft. Leah Remini, Mike Rinder, and Jon Atack

We’re back with another greatest hits mashup this week, pulled together from the Little Bit Culty archives for your late listening pleasure because…well…we can’t quit you - not even for a short late summer, early fall hiatus. Can you believe some shows go on hiatus? LAMMMMMME! Not us. Breaks are for babies.

For real though, while we’re working on fresh batches of cult-busting brand new episodes, we wanted to stir that proverbial pot a little more by revisiting one of our favorite culty topics….Scientology.

AKA, the brainchild of L. Ron.

You know it, you loathe it, or…maybe you just mock it. To be fair, unless you’re a Scientologist, they think you’re pretty silly too. So it’s all even-stevens We are diving deep into the Danger Zone in this episode – featuring 3 top guns who have taken on the Impossible Mission of exposing Scientology – which we all know can be Risky Business. Ok, enough Tom Cruise puns – let’s introduce A Few Good Men – and a super badass woman – who you’ll hear from on today’s show. First up is the patron saint of cult-busting, Leah Remini, who’s book Troublemaker chronicles her remarkable journey toward emotional and spiritual freedom from Scientology, both for herself and for her family. Next is Mike RInder. Having spent his youth doing things like, for example, swabbing the decks of L. Ron Hubbard’s yacht, Rinder eventually made it into the elite sect of Scientology known as the Sea Organization, eventually becoming Scientology’s International Spokesperson and the head of its Office of Special Affairs. Then, he escaped and became a fearless and outspoken ex-member. Last is Jon Atack – one of the only court-appointed expert witnesses on Scientology, and his book: Let’s Sell These People a Piece of Blue Sky, about the early history of the church, is cited by academics all over the world. Jon was a ‘public’ Scientologist for nine years, trained as a counselor, and even did the secret ‘OT’ levels, but ditched it when he discovered appalling, aggressive behavior towards members. In addition to his work podcasting as a Scientology mythbuster and using his Instagram account to help educate people on overcoming things like manipulation, destructive cults, and abusive relationships, he’s written several novels, including Voodoo Child (Slight Return), inspired by the life and downfall of Jimi Hendrix.

Without further ado…please enjoy this Scientology Sucks, Sorry Not Sorry, A Little Bit Culty Medley.

Episode available since September 04, 2023

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