Federal prosecutors announced on Tuesday that Nicole Daedone, the founder and spiritual leader of OneTaste, and Rachel Cherwitz, the former head of sales, have been indicted on charges of conspiring to force employees into labor through sexual, psychological, and economic abuse.
The San Francisco-based company gained national media attention for its focus on “sexuality-focused wellness education,” including courses on “orgasmic meditation.” However, according to federal investigators, the company’s purported mission of sexual liberation and healing was a facade used by Daedone and Cherwitz to manipulate and control members, driving them into debt while surveilling their lives and withholding wages.
The charges were filed in federal court in Brooklyn, and Cherwitz was arrested in San Francisco on Tuesday, while Daedone remains at large. OneTaste operated in various U.S. cities, including San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Denver, and Las Vegas. Prosecutors of the OneTaste employee abuse case allege that under the guise of empowerment and wellness, the defendants sought complete control over employees’ lives, including coercing them into debt and engaging in sexual acts while withholding wages.
OneTaste’s philosophy and practices propelled Daedone to semi-celebrity status, with her TEDx talk on female orgasm gaining significant attention. However, prosecutors assert that Daedone and Cherwitz promoted a philosophy centered around the worship of “Orgasm” in which Daedone held a central role. The company targeted individuals who had experienced sexual abuse or trauma, promising healing and support, but instead subjected them to uncomfortable and repulsive sexual acts.
Employees were allegedly groomed to engage in sexual relationships with potential investors and clients, while Daedone and Cherwitz failed to compensate them adequately for their services. Former members have described OneTaste as cult-like, sharing nightmarish stories after a 2009 profile in the New York Times brought the company recognition.
OneTaste has also faced legal action, including a failed libel lawsuit over a podcast and the release of a documentary by Netflix titled “Orgasm Inc: The Story of OneTaste.”
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