Founder of 'orgasmic cult' One Taste Nicole Daedone breaks cover after indictment - and jokes about the 'bomb' which blew up her life

Daily Mail, UK/September 2, 2023

By Emma James

The founder of a sexual wellness company accused of abusing women and forcing them into sex acts has broken her silence for the first time since being hit with a federal indictment.

Nicole Daedone, 56, and Rachel Cherwitz, 43, have been accused of keeping women in residential warehouses where they were forced into sex acts for 'orgasmic meditation cult' OneTaste.

Wellness guru Daedone has kept a low profile since allegations were levied against the firm in 2014 by a former employee – who was paid $325,000 in a settlement with the company.

But she made a low-key return to the company, giving a talk to a dozen paying customers in Manhattan, before joking that she was 'put back together again' by several people.

Claims levied against the company for several years have been denied by Daedone, who described the allegations as a 'bomb' going off in her life as well as for the company.

Speaking to Daedone said: 'It was like a life's work, and overnight it just exploded and spread like wildfire.

'My entire heart is about bringing liberation to women. Every single thing that I have ever done, every breath that I ever took.

'And then I was stopped overnight, and there is a grief that I don't think most people can imagine.

'Not being able to express what is deepest and most important to you. And then to watch the state of women devolving. It was devastating not to be able to step in.

'I believe in unconditional love, and boy did that get tested. But I do, and I also believe in understanding human beings.

'I understand human beings making not good decision. There was a time when I didn't know if I would be able to find love, for everyone involved.

'And I refused to come out until I did. That was mine, as soon as I know that I could love everyone and then I could come out.'

Daedone and Cherwitz are also accused of grooming employees to have sex with potential investors and clients of OneTaste, according to the indictment.

In the latest court hearing over the federal charges, lawyers for Cherwitz and Daedone claim that the government failed to show 'how they violated the forced labor statute.

According to the pair the indictment does not specify what 'forced labor' they supposedly obtained, nor does it provide key details such as when, where and how the alleged violations took place.

Their filing states: 'Instead, the indictment is peppered with sensationalized allegations that have no nexus to its one criminal charge.'

Prosecutors say the alleged victims were subjected to 'constant surveillance' and isolated from friends and family.

When members could no longer afford OneTaste classes, they were pressured to take on debt, and that at times Daedone and Cherwitz even assisted them in opening new credit cards, according to the indictment.

Daedone and Cherwitz have both pleaded not guilty to the charges and are free on $1 million and $300,000 bonds, respectively. OneTaste's current leadership team says they stand behind the defendants.

Who is OneTaste founder Nicole Daedone? 

Nicole Daedone hails from California and described Silicone Valley as her 'home' in a 2013 lecture.

Before focusing her attentions on orgasmic meditation, the author and entrepreneur, The San Francisco State University graduate founded the 111 Minna Gallery in the SoMa district.

She went on to study with teachers of yoga, Kabbalah, and Buddhist meditation.  

It is thought Daedone was introduced to orgasmic meditation in the early 2000s by a Buddhist monk, who demonstrated the practice in a private session.

She founded OneTaste in 2004, packaging orgasmic meditation in a palatable format and by 2009 was on the cover of The New York Times' Style section.  

Daedone wrote a guide to orgasmic meditation, Slow Sex: the art and craft of the female orgasm, in 2012.  

In 2017, the company made $12 million in revenue.

Vanity Fair named Daedone in its list of 'Twelve Women Who Changed the Way We Look at Sex' and around 900,000 people have viewed her Ted talk, entitled Orgasm, the Cure for Hunger in Western Woman.

Speaking at the event she added that she is 'different in a lot of ways' following the allegations made by Ayries Blanck – though did not name the ex-worker or reference the criminal investigation.

OneTaste has launched a lawsuit against Blanck, claiming she is in breach of their NDA settlement after repeatedly voicing her hatred of the firm since she left in 2014.

Several former members of staff have spoken out about the alleged abuse, initially to Bloomberg, before the BBC published a podcast series on the company.

Daedone appeared to take a swipe at prosecutors who branded her as a flight risk, telling those listening that she had 'travelled the world and come back to New York'.

She said: 'You know what I found with OHM, it is indestructible. The day after the first piece came out we had quadruple the amount of traffic we had ever had.

'It speaks for itself and then the rest, you know, people have to work through for themselves but it hasn't it definitely hasn't stopped the number of people who contact me.'

Prosecutors for the Eastern District of New York previously filed to pause the civil litigation of OneTaste against Blanck, claiming that she is a 'possible witness' in the federal case.

But the motion was denied, with lawyers for the San Francisco-based company telling that the filing is 'unconstitutional', adding that pausing the case would be 'ludicrous'.

The federal charges come after several serious allegations were made public by former employees of the company. Those at the head of the company say the allegations have 'come from really just one person'.

Current CEO Anjuli Ayer, who took over in 2017, previously told DailyMail,com that the impact of the allegations were 'devastating'.

Blanck was paid $325,000 as part of a settlement with the company after parting ways in 2014 - which included an NDA.

Legal documents filed by OneTaste earlier this year claim Blanck said she wanted to 'f***ing kill' her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend – who he met through a company event in Los Angeles.

What is orgasmic meditation or 'OM'?

Orgasmic meditation is a 15 minute partner practice that involves a woman removing her underwear and lying down on a 'nest' of pillows or another comfortable position.

The stroker, often a man, sits next to her on his own pillows and lightly and deliberately strokes her clitoris.

The stroker focuses solely on the upper-left-hand quadrant of the clitoris, the so-called 'one o'clock' position.

This continues for 15 minutes, until a timer goes off.   

The aim is not necessarily to orgasm but simply to 'feel' the sensation as intensely as possible.

It affects the same parts of the human brain as conventional meditation.

She flew to Los Angeles and confronted the other woman before punching her in the face and dramatically quitting the company, according to the documents.

OneTaste has since launched a lawsuit against Blanck, accusing her of breaching their NDA, claiming she regularly voices her hatred of the firm - and say she was involved in a Netflix documentary about the company.

Blanck has not responded to the claims in the new lawsuit, and Ayer insists that the allegations are 'false' and that their community has been 'ripped apart'.

Ayer said that at the time the first accusations were leveled at the company, it didn't have the resources to fight them and insisted on Blanck signing an NDA.

One Taste in a lawsuit that Blanck had previously filed stated that she 'loved' the company and staff 'and 'consistently had sex with other members' while living in New York City.

But it claims she changed after she split up with her boyfriend in 2014 and he found love elsewhere.

Blanck filed a lawsuit against the company in August of 2015, claiming they subjected her to a 'hostile work environment, sexual harassment, failure to pay minimum wage and intentional infliction of emotional distress'.

The lawsuit also claimed OneTaste 'forced and manipulated her into having sex and taking part in orgasmic meditation with OneTaste staff, supervisors, and customers'. These claims are denied by the company.

But the new suit by OneTaste argues that following her ex-partners new relationship, Blanck begged Cherwitz to end his new relationship, which she said she could not do.

Lawyers for OneTaste are seeking an unspecified amount of compensatory, exemplary and punitive damages – asking for the amount to be 'sufficient to punish or set an example.'

OM exploded in popularity following a 2009 New York Times profile of OneTaste, and at one point, the company was reportedly raking in $12 million a year from eager clients.

But in 2018, the FBI launched an investigation when ex-customers came forward saying they were left in debt after paying for expensive classes, and former employees said they were told to engage in sexual relations with potential clients to close sales.

Now, prosecutors say that between 2004 and 2018, Daedone and Cherwitz deployed a series of abusive and manipulative tactics in order to obtain the labor and services of a group of OneTaste members, including volunteers, contractors, and employees.

The indictment alleges that the duo used tactics designed to render the OneTaste members dependent on the group for their shelter and basic necessities and to limit members' independence and control.

Members of OM were allegedly kept in 'residential warehouses' where they were forced into sex acts.

OM involves a woman, naked from the waist down, having her clitoris 'stroked' for exactly 15 minutes by a man, either her own partner or another paying customer.

At one point, OneTaste operated centers in cities including New York, San Francisco, Denver, Las Vegas, Boulder, Los Angeles, Austin and London.

In New York City, OneTaste leased residences and hosted events in several different locations, including in Brooklyn and the Manhattan neighborhoods of Harlem, Hell's Kitchen, Soho and West Village.

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