How This Viral TikTok Trend Became Linked to a ‘Sex Cult’

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A MARKETING GROUP behind one of the most successful TikTok ad campaigns of all time is drawing scrutiny for its alleged ties to NXIVM, the so-called “sex cult” once led by Keith Raniere in upstate New York.

Geoffrey Goldberg and Evan Horowitz are the married co-founders of Movers+Shakers, a Brooklyn-based ad agency that has collaborated with brands like Netflix, Neutrogena, Tinder, and Arm + Hammer. They are perhaps best known for their work with makeup brand e.l.f., with whom they created hugely viral TikTok campaigns, such as 2019’s “Eyes Lip Face (e.l.f.)” trend, which was promoted by celebrities and influencers such as Reese Witherspoon, Lizzo, and Addison Rae.

Last month, Movers+Shakers was acquired by the communications company the Stagwell Group for $15 million, prompting headlines in advertising and marketing trade publications. Following the sale, whispers started circulating that Goldberg and Horowitz had previously been associated with NXIVM, the subject of the HBO documentary series The Vow. Such whispers culminated with a recently released report by e.l.f. investor Spruce Point Capital Management shorting the e.l.f. stock and detailing Goldberg and Horowitz’s alleged historical ties to the organization.

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