Ben Szemkus & James Alefantis Talked Pizza...Literally. Pizza Crust. (Transcript)

In February 2007, Ben Szemkus (pronounced SHEM-kus) went to what he would later describe as a "very weird party." He now thinks it was a recruitment event for #NXIVM. Here he discusses it. “The Tanster” is the interviewer. Ben Szemkus is the interviewee.

T: "You're telling people that you went to a cult mixer in 2007 and there were 3 high-ranking Democrats there who are to my knowledge extremely connected to Hillary Clinton and Keith Raneire, I do not know everything about the subject, but I hear he was run out of Arkansas--I hear he's *from* New York. So the question there, is for how long has Keith Raneire been doing nice things for Hillary Clinton? And what are those nice things?"

BS: “ Well I remember that dude from the, uh, there used to be those stupid, what was it like, uh, not factory direct but there was these dumb commercials back in the 80s—that I remember, like the USA channel real late at night that I remember, uh, but you could see him on these commercials, this geeky kid with glasses, this old man that was there,and it was like this really weird thing. I don’t know if you’ve seen those commercials but—“

T: “No.”

BS: “I was would always be like who the hell is this guy, like who’s this geeky nerdy dude?”

T: “Wait.”

BS: “I don’t know it just seemed weird to me and then to see that this guy is like a leader of a sex cult it just seems even, just preposterous to think about because the guy, you know, I don’t know, I like, it just — it’s just—the whole weird. It’s just weird.”

T: “I also think it’s very weird. But we need to find out why really creepy things connect to Hillary Clinton all the time.”

BS: “Yeh.”

T: “I’d like to — I’d like to know why. And when we go everywhere, saying you guys are probably pretty interested in this, this is in court right now, is it not? Right? They’re looking into this. They want to solve this-this problem, that there’s this sex cult that brands women, trafficks kids, and then—I feel like they just want to keep the politicians out of it.”

BS: “Sure. Well, that’s the other thing is they don’t want any outsiders as well because I think they might just have all the actors that they need.”

T: “That’s what I think.”

BS: “And then you know on top of that I mean I’ve called the New York DOJ, I’ve called Washington, I’ve tried to contact Jeff Sessions.”

T: “Mm-hmm.”

BS: “All these people, I don’t get any words back or anything like that you know, I don’t even know if they put eyes on the situation.”

T: “Other people really react to that. Some love it some hate it. And I am regularly dealing with people who just, like, you know, hate me. I understand, I’m telling the truth, it’s very upsetting, you know, I get it. But sometimes it’s like whoa, what did I do, calm down.”

T: “I feel like the #NXIVM mixer is so important. Like, if this were a novel, cause to me this isn’t journalism, this is like art. So if this were a novel, like the book would start at the #NXIVM mixer, it would end at the #NXIVM mixer, you know like everything is about the #NXIVM mixer. Because I think it means something. Because they’re trying to prosecute, I guess, ‘cause I don’t believe the news. They’re trying to like, have Allison Mack go to jail, and Keith Raniere go to jail, and then leave Hillary Clinton nice, wide and free, and—all her friends, so they can keep going to Comet Pizza, or go to the art gallery, where they give them $100,000 for a little-little pizza, with Marina Abramovic, you know? I just feel like what’s screaming here is that the government is eating children. And I’m not even sure, I don’t know if they’re vampires. Okay? I have not ruled that out. Okay? Because I was a celebrity photographer, I was in the atmosphere. Okay? Those are not normal people there.”

BS: “Right.”

T: “I’m telling you, you know, you have—I’m not gonna speak about your experiences, but whenever I went to a Getty Images celebrity event, I knew everybody would be a psychopath. You know, tiny little exceptions. And, um, very quickly I was like, I have to get drunk if I’m going to get through this. Because these people are insane and they are evil and I’ve already told you that. It’s like, this is a media party. This is supposed to be amazing. Supposed to be fun, somewhere in the Hamptons. And it was the worst — this is just the worst people. (laughs) So I got to the point where I was just like I love this job it’s exciting it’s thrilling it’s challenging, my stuff is in magazines but I hate these people. (laughs)”

BS: “Yeah. You’re obviously propping up these people, your propping them up in a lot of ways. Yeah, it’s interesting—“

T: “I didn’t feel good about that.” (Short pause) “You just strike me as somebody who really wants to tell the truth. So I completely take it at face value. I have listened to your story about the #NXIVM mixer—I’ve corroborated it. It checks out as far as I’m concerned. So I really do want to show people that what you’re saying is the truth. The way you are interacting with my project is saying something very big about you. Everybody is having this like totally different reaction. So I’m suggesting that what you are saying is true. That since you’re like standing your ground and being you a lot of people are going to react to that by exposing themselves. You’re saying a week before your birthday, and your birthday is February 16.”

BS: “Yeah.”

T: “Okay so let me just say that there was a, your two friends, your girlfriend and your friend, brought you to a mixer in February 2007 in the greater Yale area. You showed up—“

BS: “Well that’s the thing because it was in Hampton, & Hamptons is next to New Haven, you know, so it is right next door, so I would say it would probably be like the greater New Haven area because Yale is a small area. If Yale wasn’t there in New Haven would be a complete ghetto because when you go on the outskirts of Yale it’s a bad city it’s a bad ass it’s no joke. When you’re around Yale it’s like you’re under this cloud of protection all the time. I think that’s the only reason New Haven house the police force is because Yale is there.”

T: “Okay, fair enough. So you found yourself one evening in February 2007 in a two bedroom apartment, kind of a nice apartment, now what was the — OK so just so I can say for anyone listening— This party seem to be a recruitment party for rich Yale girls. You didn’t seem to be terribly welcome there because you weren’t a rich Yale girl, and while you were smoking on the deck, Stormy Daniels showed up with her big Black bodyguard. Really nervous. Later Eric Schneiderman, the disgraced New York Attorney General showed, Eric Schneiderman, and then Anthony Weiner and Huna Abedin showed up. And they all, from the sense I get from your stories, it feels like they were staff or something, working with them to recruit Yale girls.”

BS: “Yeah. Yeah. They were definitely, you had mentioned the word ‘harvest’ before, it was like they were just trying to harvest rich kids.”

T: “Why would New York politicians (be in) in the greater New Haven area, part of an organization trying to harvest girls from Yale? I mean we could go over a lot, you know, and talk about what Eric Schneiderman was wearing, what time he came, what time he left. You have an amazing memory for details. I really do want to hear about this mixer.”

BS: “I think I have Asperger’s.”

T: “You probably have something. Because your details— they think you’re crazy because it never happened and then they think you’re crazy cause it’s too many details. (laughs) Okay?”

BS: “I get it. I get it.”

T: “So either way. But your details are amazing. I like the details.”

BS: “When it comes to the crux of it and the way that I had written out that whole thing it does read like fan fiction.”

T: “It does.”

BS: “But the way that I wrote that thing, I was trying to cover all the avenues, my thought processes and how it all came up. And I basically wrote it in a manner that if someone were to read it, it would eliminate them trying to re-ask questions that have already been gone over with the write up. There is a couple of guests that I’ve been leaving out of the whole thing—“

T: “Your friends?”

BS: “No.”

T: “Okay so there was other people there--”

BS: “Yeah. Like I said, I got this whole experience I’m trying to tell people and nobody’s approaching me, and I got a golden nugget of what everyone really really wants to hear.”

T: “So you’re holding back on us.”

BS: “A little bit.”

T: “Okay (laughs). That’s very interesting. Okay. Whatever you, however you want to do it. Alright.”

BS: “That’s the thing cause this is like the bonus--I haven’t really written any of this stuff down but I sorta have a reason for that, because if no one’s approaching me on this stuff that I already have, well adding stuff to it, they’re just going to say you’re just trying to get attention or something like that. Um, I sorta have a reason for that. The other people that were at that party was, I looked at pictures of these people, I started looking at pictures of all these NXIVM (crew?) and stuff like that and people who were affiliates and like I said, the Bronfman girls were there, Claire and Sarah. I thought, when I first saw them, they were dirty Yale hippies. I thought they were just some rich chicks who, you know, (were) overly feminized and didn't give a crap about any dudes in the room or anything like that.”

T: “Okay.”

BS: “Nancy Salzman was there. She was mixing drinks she was like a den mother. Talked with her for a split second cuz I thought she was like, in the back of my head I'm like, who's the - who invited this librarian here? This mean librarian.”

T: “Mm-hmm.”

BS: “And then the other person I spoke with was James Alefantis.”

T: “Nooooo.”

BS: “Yeah.”

T: “No. Really.”

BS: “And that was the one where, when I started looking at pictures of that guy, I'm like yeah, that guy was there. And as a matter of fact we talked about guess what, pizza.”

T: “Can you share the nature of your discussion with James Alefantis about pizza?”

BS: “So when he introduced himself to me he said, ‘I'm James, I own a pizza place down in DC.’ Me being I've worked in kitchens I've done culinary stuff for about 20 plus, almost 20 years, I'd say pretty close to 20 years, and so I've had experience working in pizzerias, things like that. The discussion I think I was talking about East Coast pizza versus West Coast pizza and how West Coast pizza sucks because I think it's all about mineralization. I think it's about the pH of the water because on the East Coast we have a lot of like, hard rocks and things like that, so like the rain water that you use is mineralized. But on the West Coast you don't have a lot of those craggy rocks and things like that, and so there's a kind of a different mineralization of the water, it affects the pH I think. Like when you’re rising dough and using yeast and stuff like that, I think you get a different texture to the crust. His recommendation--”

T: (laughs)

BS: “--was that when you bake the dough, when you mix it all up, was that you add soda water instead of regular water and it makes the crust crispy.”

T: (laughs) “You cannot make this up. You cannot make this up. Now that’s a scoop.”

BS: “Both the Bronfman girls are wearing these really oversized, like Triple X, Hanes white T-shirts.”

T: Okay.

BS: “Really big T-shirts. Um, Nancy Salzman was wearing a T-shirt, she had her sleeves rolled up and then it was tied off at one side -- she had a bunch of bartender girls with her, it looked like she had gone around the local New Haven area and (scrapped?) a bunch of bartenders from the area, it was like -- something like that, maybe hired them on, something like that. But it was like pretty girls, you could tell they had that kind of bravado of being a bartender, and then Alefantis was wearing a tight white T-shirt, and he had one of those little bead necklaces on. And there’s something about white T-shirts, I don’t know.”

T: “So there’s lots of oversized white T-shirts at this party.”

BS: “(Alefantis) was not oversized, he had a tight white T-shirt on, (but) the Bronfman girls they looked like they were wearing Triple X white T-shirts.”

T: “Okay, so the Bronfman sisters, Nancy Salzman and James Alefantis are all wearing white T-shirts.”

BS: “Yeah.”

T: “Who else? Anybody else wearing white T-shirts?”

BS: “No. And I wonder about that because if you look at some of these ritualistic pictures that they have, like, white is within their ritualism, it’s like an initiation thing. And then the other side of that, it’s like - Nancy Salzman seemed like she was a den mother. I almost wonder if she was like maybe some kind of au pair for Alefantis and the Bronfman girls. I wonder how far back their whole relationship is, because I’ve heard that Alefantis is probably a Rothschild. So you wonder if all these people have been hanging out all their lives, you know, this is like some kind of just weird stupid thing that they do just to play with people or whatever, I don’t know.”

T: “Uh, you mean, recruit girls from Yale?”

BS: “Yeah.”

T: “Yeah. Let’s just do a sex cult. Let’s get some really rich girls from Yale.”

BS: “Yeah. I mean - Yale is full. You have some people who are there off of a scholarship. I get it. But a lot of girls there, they have these CEO dads, or judges as grandfathers, they’re people of influence.”

T: “Of course.”

BS: “They have influence over communities and they don’t realize it cause they’re just kids of these people who have influence. But they still have that influence. And I think that that was part of their target, was that you find these girls and stuff like that, who have these CEO dads or have people who - you can milk money off of someone somehow, or tap into their emails and try to figure out some kind of information or whatever.”

T: “Yeah, I mean they were always looking for money. No question about that.”

BS: “But I remember talking to that dude, he had the gap tooth, and that pictures of him, and it’s like yes, that dude was there.”

T: “James Alefantis. He’s like a hipster, is he?”

BS: “He was Mr. Cool Gay Guy, yeah.”

T: (laughs) “That’s my definition. I learned yesterday that NXIVM gave Hillary Clinton $30,000 in 2008 for her -- “

BS: “That’s what they reported. I bet it was probably more.”

T: “You know, again, I don’t know what to believe, but there’s a lot of talk of NXIVM delivering money in 2007, 2008 to Hillary Clinton. So that crowd was very very, very much I think under Hillary Clinton, or the character (laughs). I don’t know. I don’t know what’s real. But um - alright, so Hillary Clinton was like a silent presence in the room, in a way, cause those were her cohorts.”

BS: “Pretty much. I guess. I don’t know what Salzman’s connection with Hillary is. And with the Bronfmans, I don’t know what their connection with anyone is, really.”

T: “But you know Huma, Huma’s like - I read -- “

BS: “She was definitely there. She definitely connected.”

T: “I’m very curious about her. I know you only met her, but Huma supposedly at their wedding in 2010, Hillary said, this is the daughter this is my second daughter here, Huma.”

The video ends here. A second video in which Ben Szemkus simply talks to the camera about his attendance at the NXIVM event is posted here.
Transcribed by Dr. Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal. All opinions are the author's own. This post is hereby released into the public domain. Creative Commons photo via Pixabay.

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