A new theory claiming that adult film star Stormy Daniels is part of the alleged sex cult NXIVM is gaining traction on the internet, leading to some accusations that the wild concoction looks like a politically motivated attack against one of Donald Trump’s most vocal critics.
This week, the internet conspiracy theory generators on 4chan and Reddit were abuzz with accusations that Daniels is part of the New York-based group NXIVM, which is accused of being a front for a sex cult run by leader Keith Raniere. Cult members allegedly lured young women into sexual slavery and branded them with a tattoo, and as the Daily Dot noted, some denizens of the shadowy corners of the internet believed they found pictures of Stormy Daniels sporting that branding mark.
Fueled largely by “researchers” on 4chan and Reddit’s The_Donald, this theory claimed that Stormy Daniels was trying to conceal her connection to the cult and covered up her branding mark with a large tattoo that stretches the lengths of her waist. Many shared the pictures, enlarging the supposed branding mark in an attempt to prove that Daniels was a member of the NXIVM cult.
Some critics believed this was an attempt to smear Stormy Daniels and muddy her intentions around criticizing Donald Trump. Daniels has been vocal about her alleged affair with Trump and the actions the president has since taken to keep her quiet. Some of these critics pointed out that the nexus for the conspiracy theory, largely 4chan and The_Donald, had previously pushed other politically-motivated conspiracies like Pizzagate, a theory that Hillary Clinton and other high-powered Democrats were running a child sex ring from the basement of a Washington, D.C., pizzeria.
Others pointed out that if the theory was true and Daniels was trying to hide a tattoo, that would make her one of the cult’s victims, not a perpetrator of it.
There is plenty of evidence that Stormy Daniels was not in the NXIVM sex cult. Daniels explained that she got the tattoo to cover up a scar on her midsection, and the tattoo shop where she had it done even shared before-and-after pictures in 2014 that clearly showed a large tattoo.
Others pushing the sex cult theory references a tweet from Stormy Daniels in 2010 claiming she was about to “be initiated into a cult.” At the time, Daniels was considering a run for the U.S. Senate as a Republican.