'Orgasmic meditation cult' OneTaste SUES Netflix for defamation over documentary claiming former employee Ayries Blanck's rape claims are false

Daily Mail, UK/November 28, 2023

By Emma James

A sexual wellness company accused of abusing women and forcing them into sex acts is suing Netflix over a documentary which claimed an employee was 'raped and beaten'.

In new filings obtained by DailyMail.com, 'orgasmic meditation cult' OneTaste claims the allegations levied against them by several former members and staff featured on the streaming giant's film are 'completely false'.

Netflix first aired Orgasm Inc: The Story of OneTaste in 2022, five months before founder Nicole Daedone, 56, and Rachel Cherwitz, 43, were indicted for allegedly forcing women into sex acts. Both women deny the accusations.

A lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, focuses on the final 15 minutes of the documentary, which discusses ex-employee Ayries Blanck experiencing 'sexual violence' that was 'condoned' by the company.

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 the West Village.

Blanck started working for the firm in 2012, but left in 2014.

She signed a non-disclosure agreement and settled out of court with OneTaste for $325,000 after alleging she was manipulated into having sex.

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

OneTaste is currently embroiled in a second bitter legal battle against Blanck over claims she breached her NDA after settling with them by voicing her hatred of the firm on multiple occasions.

Court documents accuse Blanck of attempting to connect former OneTaste customers and staff members with journalists and admitted being offered money to appear in the Netflix documentary.

While she did not appear in the documentary herself, Blanck's sister Autymn repeated allegations that OneTaste 'condoned violence' against Ayries and 'found strangers to rape her'.

The new lawsuit, obtained by DailyMail.com, claims the allegations made by Autymn on the documentary are defamatory and that OneTaste's denial was not included in the final cut.

Speaking on the Netflix documentary, Autymn states that she was there to 'tell the story' of her sister, reading passages from journals detailing the alleged abuse months after it took place.

'I wanted to speak out for someone who couldn't speak for herself,' Autymn said.

'I wanted to tell the story of someone that was, I guess, silenced in all of it and pushed under the rug.'

Netflix says Ayries Blanck declined to take part in any filming. In the separate lawsuit Blanck denies giving her sister permission to speak to the streaming giant on her behalf.

Blanck denies the allegations, with her lawyers telling the court in a recent hearing that she has left the US, and is 'too traumatized' to sit for a deposition.

OneTaste says in its suit against Blanck the 'cost of defending the case would exceed the amount' for which they could settle – despite denying the allegations.

Blanck signed a settlement agreement confirming that she would not 'disparage OneTaste or its officers, or incite others to do so'.

Their suit claims Blanck continued with a 'vendetta' against the company despite the settlement and 'chose to repeat the false claims'.

It states that Blanck laughed when asked if she signed an NDA, saying, 'Whatever, I'm going to do what I want.'

Court documents say OneTaste feels it is unable to 'combat the defamatory statements' made by Netflix and director Sarah Gibson.

Lawyers for the sexual wellness company also claim that footage from its archive was obtained by Netflix from a former company videographer, after the employee was terminated.

Netflix was hit with a prior lawsuit which is still ongoing from those who attended classes, appearing in the 'stolen' footage, and did not give permission to be shown in the documentary.

More than a dozen one-time members claim the show 'misappropriated' recordings of their training sessions, violate their privacy rights, and unfairly associate them with 'salacious' and 'implied' criminal behavior.

Lawyers are seeking an undisclosed amount in damages in the case, and have asked the court for a jury trial.

Current CEO of OneTaste Anjuli Ayer – who was not at the helm when the allegations were made – told DailyMail.com: 'While there are many issues with the film Netflix and Sarah Gibson made about OneTaste, including their sourcing of footage and mistreatment of privacy of individuals, we brought this suit because at center of their film lies false allegations about OneTaste that focus on Ayries Blanck, just as previous negative coverage of OneTaste had.

'Netflix received 297 pages of documents from us prior to airing, demonstrating that the story spread by Ms Blanck and a few disgruntled ex-employees was not merely unreliable, but patently false,' Ayer added.

Netflix did not respond to a request for comment by DailyMail.com.

The lawsuit comes after founders Daedone and Cherwitz were hit with a federal indictment, which accused them of forcing volunteers, contractors, and employees into sex acts using cult-like tactics.

Prosecutors say the alleged victims were kept under surveillance and made dependent on Daedone and Cherwitz for shelter and basic necessities.

They have been charged with conspiracy to violate federal laws prohibiting the use of forced labor.

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.

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 OneTaste were allegedly kept in 'residential warehouses' where they were forced into sex acts.

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 say they stand behind the defendants.

Cherwitz is still working with the company, but Daedone has taken a step back since being indicted earlier this year in Brooklyn.

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.

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