The High Court allowed an application pursuant to section 32A of the Limitation Act 1980 to disapply the primary limitation period in a libel claim against the BBC relating to its Podcast “The Orgasm Cult”. The successful applicant is Rachel Cherwitz, a former Sales Director at Onetaste Inc, a company which rose to prominence promoting the practice of Orgasmic Meditation (OM).
The Court also dismissed the section 32A applications of two other prospective libel claimants, Nicole Daedone (OneTaste’s founder) and OneTaste Inc, allowing the BBC’s cross-applications pursuant to CPR 17.2 to disallow the amendments to the claim form adding Ms Daedone’s and OneTaste Inc’s libel claims.
Pepperall J found that Ms Daedone and OneTaste Inc lacked cogent reasons for their delay and had taken a considered decision from the outset not to sue. In contrast, Ms Cherwitz had acted on the advice of her US criminal attorney not to “engage” when the BBC Podcast first aired and only became aware she could issue proceedings much later on 14 February 2022. The Court also considered that the seriousness of the alleged libel weighed in her favour and took into account that Ms Cherwitz’s overlapping actions for misuse of private information and breaches of the Data Protection Act (which were brought in time) would continue in any event.
Ms Daedone’s claims against the BBC for misuse of private information and breaches of the Data Protection Act (which were brought in time) also continue, as do the in-time libel claims of the Institute of OM LLC and OM IP Co.
Catrin Evans KC act for the BBC.