Secret groups are not new in America, but recent elite groups seem more strange than ever.
Adam Driver and his wife, Joanne Tucker, may have ties to a secret Manhattan cult that is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit.
Tucker’s mother, Cynthia May, is rumored to have ties to The Odyssey Study Group, a for-profit group that allegedly recruited wealthy New Yorkers while its leader kept unpaid workers and inflicted various forms of abuse.
Adam Driver’s wife, Joanne Tucker, and his mother-in-law will allegedly be witnesses in the Odyssey Study Group trial.
Popular celebrity gossip site, Crazy Days and Nights, shared an anonymous tip that is allegedly about the upcoming trial of the group’s leaders.
“When the Manhattan cult case goes to trial, front and center as witnesses will be the mother-in-law of this A-list mostly movie actor and the wife of the actor, both of whom are very prominent members of the cult and were ‘teachers’ of several victims,” the submission reads before naming Driver, Tucker and May.
Neither the actor nor his family are named in a class-action lawsuit taken by former group members nor are they mentioned in “Manhattan Cult Story,” a book that accuses The Odyssey Study Group of being a cult.
What is the Odyssey Study Group, and why are they on trial?
The Odyssey Study Group, also known as The Work and A Fourth Way School, was founded by actress Sharon Gans Horn in New York and registered as a for-profit group in 2001.
Gans Horn and her husband, Alex Horn, had previously been accused of brainwashing members of their San Francisco theater company, “Theatre Of All Possibilities” before it was felled in 1978.
The Horns disputed claims of child neglect, abuse and public humiliation from ex-members.
After moving to New York, Gans Horn and her husband reportedly opted for a more discreet route to spread their belief that the path to self-development involves labor and intentional suffering.
“In my 30 years of working in this field, this is one of the most secretive groups I’ve encountered,” says cult expert Rick Ross, via New York Post. “After San Francisco, everything was hush-hush.”
“A dozen former members have spoken to The Post,” claims the publication, “telling stories similar to those shared more than four decades ago, including claims that they forked over huge sums to Odyssey while being emotionally abused and exploited.”
The Odyssey Study Group’s leaders allegedly operated a group founded on forced labor, psychological abuse, and the exploitation and siphoning of funds that all went to the leaders.
“We would pretty much work around the clock the whole weekend for 48 hours and I was probably working 100 hours a week,” said member Don Raskopf, 61, who lived on the Pawling estate as a supervisor with his wife and two children in the 1990s.
“After about six months of that, I learned I had a psychotic break just from the stress.”
The Odyssey Study Group also requested monthly dues from members, ranging from $100 to $400 along with a recruitment quota of 50 people a week.
It’s said that at any given point over the years, the group maintained around 250 members who would meet twice a week to study the teachings of philosophers George Ivanovich Gurdjieff and his protege P.D. Ouspensky.
In 2012, when two members were lodged into a legal battle, former member Charles Ward claimed that the group had been accused of “sexual predation, child abuse, racism, anti-homosexual behavior, illegal adoption, financial chicanery, coerced labor, sustained emotional cruelty, and the systematic looting of member’s wealth.”
Despite Gans Horn’s death in January 2021 due to COVID complications, the group continues on and now faces a class action lawsuit from former members, filed in September 2021.
“Through methods traditionally utilized to groom, intimidate, weaken, gaslight, and exploit their victims, OSG coerced and tricked its members into, among other things … paying it monthly fees and performing many hours of labor without compensation,” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit was brought to the Manhattan Supreme Court but the group has yet to be brought to trial.