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OneTaste: BBC Retracts Podcast’s Sole Piece of Documentary Evidence Said to Be in Their Possession

Published March, 2024

In November 2020, the BBC published the inventively titled podcast The Orgasm Cult, a ten-part “true crime” style audio drama on OneTaste narrated by Nastaran Tavakoli-Far.

BBC Podcast Allegations

The podcast includes false and distressing allegations, further exaggerating and adding to the false allegations originally published by Ellen Huet of Bloomberg Businessweek in June of 2018.

The podcast’s darkest allegations come from Episode 9, which features a source referred to as “Max,” an anonymized character who we are told “worked for OneTaste.” Max tells stories about an anonymized woman referred to as “Cassidy.” It’s important to note that Max never says he has spoken to Cassidy about any of the stories he relates in the podcast. In one instance, Max merely relates, “Cassidy tells a story…” Because no verifiable information is shared and because the individuals are anonymized, the listener cannot tell if these stories are secondhand, thirdhand, or simply urban legends.

One of the most damaging accusations in the podcast is that Cassidy was being repeatedly raped and physically beaten by her boyfriend, who they name “Sam,” and OneTaste leadership not only knew about it but deliberately allowed it to continue, instructing staff members to keep it a secret and not to call the police. (Read about the false assertion that OneTaste told people not to call the police here)

This allegation was said to be backed up by firm evidence, as OneTaste had used internal company lawyers to instruct staff to stay quiet by email. The BBC claimed to have a copy of that incriminating email.

Alleged Facts Presented

Until November 11, 2022, Episode 9 reported the following as “fact”:

Nastaran Tavakoli-Far:

Sam would be so abusive towards Cassidy. The people working at OneTaste would discuss whether they should call the police.

Interviewee (“Max”):

Nicole talked at length about never calling the police and how other “games” have been shut down because someone had gotten scared and called the police. And how, basically, that was something we were never to do.

Nastaran Tavakoli-Far:

In fact, OneTaste’s lawyer emailed everyone about a specific incident where Sam had abused Cassidy. OneTaste’s lawyer told people to not talk to anyone who was not OneTaste staff about this incident. I have that email in front of me now, and I’m going to read a section from it:

“We do not want to do or say anything that could be seen as spreading mistruths and potentially slander or libel on the part of the company, even in a client-coach relationship. Just say that you cannot comment on that situation in any specifics or otherwise refrain from discussing it. Feel free to talk about matters of sexual abuse or playing victim generally. But again, without any specifics to this situation.”

Now, reading this, to me, it sounds like OneTaste’s priority was their reputation. The lawyer has just referred to people playing victim. Cassidy was also on the opposite coast from her friends and family.

Allegations Unsubstantiated

The “fact” supposedly stated in this email to support the BBC’s narrative about Cassidy and Sam is critical. Not only is this email the solitary piece of documentary evidence the BBC provides to back up its claim that OneTaste instructed staff to stay quiet about Sam’s alleged rape and abuse of Cassidy, but it is also the only piece of documentary evidence referred to in the entire 10-part podcast.

Given the BBC’s assertions that the serious and constant abuse of Cassidy is reported to have been openly endured over a long period of time, other contemporaneous text messages, emails, or corroborating witnesses of the alleged abuse and OneTaste’s involvement should have been easy to come by. The BBC can cite no such evidence, not even of the “discussions” that supposedly took place about it.

Ruwan Meepagala, himself a key source and subject of the BBC podcast, should have had personal knowledge of these events had they occurred. He was one of Cassidy and Sam’s best friends, classmates, and roommates during their time participating at OneTaste.

However, he has not discussed this in the podcast or in any of the media stories in which he appears in any way, despite having gone on the record many times and for dozens of hours about his experiences at OneTaste.

BBC’s Admission

On November 11, 2022, nearly a year after OneTaste Inc, Institute of OM LLC, OM IP Co, Nicole Daedone, and Rachel Cherwitz sued the BBC over the podcast, the BBC admitted that the story it had presented to listeners about this email was completely wrong and conceded that it had been false to suggest that the email both referenced and corroborated allegations voiced by Tavakoli-Far about Cassidy and Sam.

It provided no factual corroboration of those allegations at all. Simple fact-checking of the email by the BBC would have readily revealed that the email in question did not relate to Sam and Cassidy in any way whatsoever.

This is significant for two reasons. First, as stated, this email was the sole piece of documentary evidence regarding events at OneTaste provided by the BBC to substantiate their reporting. Second, not only does the email extract read out by Tavakoli-Far not support the allegations, but the full email and related documents actually demonstrate that OneTaste was conscientious and proactive in following appropriate protocols to address claims of misconduct once they were brought to its attention.

True Context of the Email

The email thread refers not to Sam and Cassidy but to two private individuals, a man and a woman, who had each attended an introductory class with OneTaste and who occasionally participated in OneTaste-free public events. The alleged incident happened at the woman’s personal home. That night, the woman attended a free OneTaste event, at which she expressed distress regarding the earlier incident to OneTaste staff. When the man also arrived at the event, he was asked to leave.

This individual had previously been barred from attending events until he received more instruction on the rules and protocols involved in OM practice. Based on the allegations shared with staff by this woman, a decision was made to ban him from OneTaste events entirely.

The man involved contested the woman’s version of what had taken place between them. The woman was asked directly by a OneTaste staff member if she wanted to file a complaint with the police. She said that she did not want to take that step. OneTaste’s in-house counsel consulted a civil rights attorney and acted in accordance with her advice. This guidance informed the email sent to staff warning against pre-judgement and public discussion of the private individuals in a sensitive situation with disputed facts.

BBC's Inaction

While the BBC grudgingly removed the reading and discussion of the email from Episode 9 of the podcast, it has not posted a notice on its Corrections page that would alert listeners to the change, nor has it made any attempt to explain why such provably false ‘evidence’ was relied upon in the first place.

The podcast site offers a vague statement that hardly matches the significance and importance of the error: “This episode has been edited to remove reference to an email which was described as relating to a specific incident involving Sam and Cassidy.”

orgasm cult

Related Posts:

OneTaste: The Truth About “Don’t Call the Police” (BBC Podcast)

OneTaste: The Truth About Being a Cult

OneTase: The Truth About Nicole Daedone’s Whereabouts

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