Anthony "Nippy" Ames

Anthony "Nippy" Ames

Host and Executive Producer. A Little Bit Culty

Today we talk to Anthony “Nippy” Ames, a former member of the NXIVM cult (featured in the HBO documentary The Vow) and co-host with his wife, Sarah Edmondson, of the podcast “A Little Bit Culty“.

Nippy shares his personal experience of being a member of the cult, including his journey of realizing the truth behind the facade and ultimately leaving the organization. We then talk about some recent cases of businesses that behaved like cults and how to spot corporate behaviors that may signal the use of manipulating techniques similar to the ones used by cults.

Finally, we discuss the importance of questioning our beliefs and the power of love in driving positive change.


[00:55] – Dino introduces the show and guest, Anthony “Nippy” Ames, who escaped the NXIVM cult with his wife and played a crucial role in taking it down, launching an FBI investigation that led to the arrest and conviction of the cult leader Keith Raniere. They discuss the connection between cults and toxic organizations in the business world.

[03:55] – Nippy briefly summarizes his background and his involvement with the cult.

[07:14] – Nippy discusses the appealing traits and behaviors of cults and how they attract people and emphasizes the importance of acknowledging one’s own susceptibility to these tactics.

[09:00] – Nippy explains why he personally became involved in one of these organizations and why he eventually left.

[13:56] – The vehicle to growth is through questions, and if an organization is not allowing that, it’s already failing. Nippy shares the red flags to watch out for that a mission-driven organization may be behaving like a cult and what to be wary of.

[16:28] – Love bombing, reinforcing the mission, and toxic positivity are all mechanisms used to keep people in cults or similar organizations.

[18:56] – When you find out that you’re part of an organization that may not be aligned or find out that there’s something nefarious, there’s an option just to walk away. The other path is seeking justice for the world.

[19:24] – Nippy shares his personal experience with the NXIVM cult, including his initial reaction to his wife, Sarah, being physically harmed and their decision to speak out against the organization despite potential legal repercussions.

[25:50] – Drawn in by a charismatic leader: Nippy shares the early days of his involvement in the organization and Keith Raniere as “a collector of souls.”

[27:06] – How the “A Little Bit Culty” podcast is helping others by turning a negative into a positive, and the duty Nippy feels he has to the “human team” and his hope to inspire others.

[29:27] – Dino and Nippy discuss how being in the organization robbed them of basic life skills and how they had to play catch up after leaving.

[31:35] The practical steps someone should take if they suspect something fishy is going on in their company and want to take action.

[32:23] – Nippy explains that when he and Sarah decided to leave the organization, they started making decisions based on their own values and principles instead of running them through the organization. He believes that having good principles and making decisions based on them can bring positivity into one’s life, just as having bad principles can bring negativity.

[34:28] -The power of love: Nippy shares the most powerful moment from the first season of the HBO Series, “The Vow,” that ultimately led to saving a life.

[36:41] – Nippy speaks about the power of love as an unstoppable driving force and the importance of putting it into everything he does. He credits Bonnie’s act of love as a catalyst that triggered everyone else’s love and ultimately led to the downfall of the NXIVM organization.

[38:36] – You can find out more about Nippy on Instagram at @anthonynippy, @sarahedmondson, and @alittlebitculty  or listen to their podcasts, “A Little Bit Culty,” and be on the lookout for his sports podcast coming soon called “Spinning It,” you can get updates on the show and its launch on Instagram @spinningitpod.

[39:49] – The two sports-related activities that Nippy shares with his family.

[40:13] – The jargon that drives Nippy so crazy, he wrote a whole web series about it.

[41:06] – Nippy shares his favorite artist – Caravaggio.

[41:40] – Nippy shares his advice for living and how saying yes to what you’re good at can lead to new opportunities and, eventually, your passions.

[42:57] – Dino shares some advice from AL4EP “Episode 22, Dorie Clark – Leadership, Communication and Becoming A Recognized Expert” that Dorie shared about experimenting in order to find your passion.

[43:31] – Dino recommends listening to at least three or four episodes of “A Little Bit Culty” for a new perspective on life situations and to help determine if you’re being gaslit. It covers a dark and scary topic but delivers great knowledge in a fun way.

Contact dino at:

Websites: or

A Little Bit Culty

Other Anthony “Nippy” Ames links:

Podcast: A Little Bit Culty Podcast

A Little Bit Culty Linktree:

Podcast Instagram: @alittlebitculty

Spinning It Podcast Instagram: @spinningitpod

Instagram: @anthonyames11

Twitter podcast: @alittlebitculty

Twitter: @nippyames

Authentic Leadership For Everyday People / Dino Cattaneo

Dino on LinkedIn:

Podcast Instagram – @al4edp 

Podcast Twitter – @al4edp

Podcast Facebook:


Revival | Susan Cattaneo

Haunted Heart | Susan Cattaneo


Scarred: The True Story of How I Escaped NXIVM, the Cult That Bound My Life by Sarah Edmondson