In his New York Post Page Six column, legendary columnist Richard Johnson writes, about an early student of NXIVM – Stephen Cooper.
Cooper, 72, is of interest to general readers since he is the CEO of the Warner Music Group. He was formerly acting CEO of Enron.
As far as I know, Cooper was first mentioned publicly as a NXIVM student in a 2003 Forbes article, The Cult of Personality.
In the Forbes article, Cooper was listed alongside Sheila Johnson, cofounder of Black Entertainment Television; Antonia C. Novello, a former U.S. surgeon general; billionaire Edgar Bronfman Sr., his daughters, Sara and Clare; Ana Cristina Fox, daughter of then-Mexican president, Vicente Fox, and Emiliano Salinas, son of former Mexican president, Carlos Salinas.
Of Cooper, Forbes wrote, “Raniere says there’s nothing in his operation that makes it a cult, and indeed, many enrollees see Executive Success as a good coaching program and nothing more. Enron’s Stephen Cooper puts himself in this category.”
It is not known if Forbes spoke with Cooper. He is not quoted directly in the story.
Johnson points out in his Page Six column that Cooper is ranked as the sixth most powerful man in the music business, according to Billboard.
Johnson writes, “A Warner Music source said Cooper’s turnaround company Zolfo Cooper had one meeting with Nxivm about 20 years ago.
“’This was well before any of the alarming accusations and, after this one meeting, Zolfo Cooper had no further contact with the firm,’ the source said.”
By firm, the source evidently meant NXIVM.
Johnson points out that “Warner Music’s ties to Nxivm are much deeper. Edgar Bronfman Jr. owned Warner Music when he agreed to judge a Nxivm-sponsored ‘a cappella’ singing competition in 2007.”
I attended that event, and did pre-publicity for it. At the time I did not realize that the concert – with headliners Kristin Kreuk, Allison Mack and Nicki Clyne – was designed to recruit college students.
I was quoted in the Page Six story: “’The real goal was to recruit college students into the cult,’ said Frank Parlato, Nxivm’s former publicist who has spent years exposing its dark side….
“Parlato expects Raniere and Bronfman and their four co-defendants to be re-charged with a superseding indictment that will push their trials to late 2019.”
I told Richard Johnson that, during my days with NXIVM, [2007-08] I never saw Cooper.
I suppose his name was used – in the dishonest way NXIVM often used celebrated people who even once took a course – to sell new people on the course – based on all the celebrated people who took the course.
Cooper may have taken a course. Maybe he found it helpful – as many people seemed to have found it during the early days of NXIVM.
He could not have found it too helpful for he does not seem to have come around again. His name however has been mentioned repeatedly over the years in articles critical of NXIVM.
The genesis of all mentions of him – and poor Mr. Cooper has been mentioned dozens of times – in articles from the Washington Post to the Daily Beast – is the Forbes story – and, of course, Raniere naming him as a celebrity student in the first place.
I am fairly sure Cooper never attended anything more than one or more classes. His spokesperson seems to suggest it was a single meeting.
He was almost certainly not involved in any of the sex-cult practices. First of all, he is a man and men were not invited to Raniere’s sex lair. And only women were branded.
I doubt Cooper was aware of Raniere’s proclivities. This was kept well-hidden by Raniere and his harem – who for the most part ran NXIVM in those days.
The lying ladies of Raniere – like Nancy Salzman, Lauren Salzman, Pam Cafritz, Barbara Jeske, Karen Unterreiner, Dawn Morrison, Esther Carlson and others – all teachers of NXIVM – all told students that Raniere was a “renunciate” – like a Buddhist monk – and celibate. All of these same ladies were having sex with Raniere.