Tony Robbins was accused of sexually harassing staff and berating vulnerable audience members on Friday. He denied all the claims
Self-help guru Tony Robbins has been accused of berating vulnerable audiences and sexually harassing staff by former audience members and employees.
In a lengthy article on Friday,
The 59-year-old angrily hit back with his own article on Medium where he denied all of the allegations and said he had been unfairly pursued by the news outlet for a year.
His lawyers also batted away all of BuzzFeed’s claims, saying they were made up or came from discredited, disgruntled former employees including women who were ‘obsessed’ with him and had to be let go from the company because of it.
The sexual harassment claims are related to alleged incidents which happened before he married his second wife, Sage.
Robbins, who counts the Kardashians among his many celebrity fans, has spoken openly in the past about having consensual relationships.
Among the accusations are secret recordings from shows, obtained covertly by people who had agreed not to film any of it in disclaimers beforehand.
At one 2018 show, Robbins allegedly told a woman who described being abused by her husband that he had ‘had to put up with her being a crazy b***ch’.
He also said she was ‘lying’. That woman said afterwards that she was grateful for the experience and did not find it to be damaging.
He also told the crowd the hadn’t been in love unless they’d thought about killing their partner, according to a leaked transcript of the show that BuzzFeed published.
In 2003, after a show in Australia, he allegedly boasted to staff about telling a woman who claimed she had been raped that she was using it to ‘manipulate’.
‘I don’t support anybody f*****g raping her or taking advantage of her but I don’t support her f******g manipulating herself, men, and other people by trying to use that tool when it’s really not the primary experience of her life now,’ he said.
He boasted that he cut her off in a ‘warm’, ‘elegant’, ‘fantastic’ way.
The tactics were slammed by abusive specialists and experts who spoke to BuzzFeed and called his unorthodox messages damaging but the women themselves have not spoken out in complaint.
Two assistants claimed they were forced to be in the same room as him while he showered or was naked.
‘He would call you into the bathroom with him. “Hey come here, I need you to make a note of something,”‘ one, who declined to be named but said she worked with him for 18 months in the 1990s, said.
‘He just didn’t care, he was too powerful,’ she added.
She claimed that he once came out of the bathroom and dropped his towel in front of her in a hotel room. She said she ran out in tears and that she had wanted to share her story before, using her full name, but that she was afraid of him.
Kate Ritasse, another assistant who went into the bathroom to take notes said she did not think it was abusive or inappropriate, just ‘strange’.
‘My job would be to get him out of bed in the morning so I’d wake up and pull his naked butt out of bed.
‘I had to get his naked butt into the shower and into his suit. I guess some people would think it was weird.
‘Yes I could be a victim, I could go down the victim road but I just chose not to,’ she said, standing by him.
Gary King, a former long-term employee, said he had seen audience members become mentally ill and unstable after his Date With Destiny Shows. He said he became sensitive to it after the suicide of his son.
One former employee, who did not want to be named, said he immediately called her ‘beautiful’ when she started working for him.
Robbins is shown on stage during one of his shows. They are rarely taped or photographed and he asks audiences to sign disclaimers before entering promising that they will not film
The woman started working for him in the late 90s. She said that over the course of the next few years, he encouraged her to end two relationships and offered to fly her places to see him.
During one show, she said he told a crowd to simulate having an orgasm then leaned over to her and said: ‘I want to see you having an orgasm.’
She told BuzzFeed that the more she rejected him, the more he pursued her.
‘It’s part of what he teaches: Go after what you want. And he wants to acquire you as a woman,’ she said. His lawyers dismissed her claims as ‘preposterous’.
A different woman claims to have had an affair with him that she said ended when his then-wife, Becky, became suspicious of it.
That woman, who called herself ‘J’, was fired, she claims without explanation, afterwards by King.
Robbins made headlines last year after being filmed covertly by someone in the audience of one of his shows slamming the #MeToo movement.
He was heard saying: ‘If you use the #MeToo movement to try to get significance and certainty by attacking and destroying someone else, you haven’t grown an ounce.
‘All you’ve done is basically use a drug called significance to make yourself feel good.’ He apologized afterwards.
He has a religious-like following, with many of his fans crediting him with saving their lives after his shows.
ROBBINS’ REBUTTAL TO BUZZFEED
This letter is one that I would have preferred not to write.
I have been the target of a year-long investigation by BuzzFeed. Unfortunately, your organization has made it clear to my team that you intend to move forward with publishing an inaccurate, agenda-driven version of the past, pierced with falsehoods. It is intended to disparage me personally, my family, my life’s work, and the efforts of the millions of individuals around the globe who have taken this journey with me over the last 40-plus years.
To put it in the words of your own reporters, you are preparing to publish an article with the malicious intent to ‘take Tony Robbins down.’
You have denied my team’s requests to meet with you in-person to present key evidence that contradicts your false allegations. You do not seek the truth; you seek to further your own agenda.
After more than a year-long investigation by your online entertainment company, you allege that approximately 20–30 years ago — when I was in my 20’s and early 30’s — I was negligent with both my employees and individuals who chose to attend my seminars. You also allege (through anonymous sources) that I pursued conflicting intimate relationships. Your claims range from indistinct to ridiculous.
We have evidence to prove that your reporters rejected and otherwise ignored factual accounts from several individuals you contacted. In some cases, those individuals were even harassed and lied to when their accounts did not align with Buzzfeed’s predetermined thesis.
What stands out — even in today’s sea of mis-representation and journalistic corner-cutting — is the 2014 report by the industry-standard, non-partisan, Pew Research Center which cites Buzzfeed as ‘the least trusted news source’ of them all. So, it stands to reason that you are presently facing financial, organizational, and management troubles. BuzzFeed is unapologetically fueling the current cultural divide by targeting well-known individuals with false allegations to boost its readership and serve its shareholders.
Let me be clear, while my open-classroom therapeutic methods are not for everyone, and while I am on my best day still only an imperfect human being, I have never behaved in the reckless, irresponsible, or malicious manner intimated by false, unfounded, and incendiary allegations suggested by BuzzFeed story-tellers.
Several individuals have contacted us to let us know that you attempted to manipulate their testimony and, in some cases, even ignored their legal counsel when they pointed out inaccuracies and mischaracterizations of their client’s personal accounts at the hands of your reporters.
Why didn’t you listen to what these individuals had to say and instead choose to proceed with inverted truths as your central narrative?
Your organization cannot claim objectivity or journalistic integrity when your written ethics and standards policy claims that in ‘activism’ issues ‘there are not two sides.’ As we all know, in the context of a just democracy, there are always two sides.
In my six decades on this earth, I’ve had the privilege to work with leaders like Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, presidents of countries, and international companies, not to mention millions of dedicated human beings from over 100 countries around the world. Never in my life have I witnessed a cultural climate quite like the one we’re living in today. This is an era marked by deeply-divided environments where click-bait headline news is designed to instigate a polarized public, grab their attention, and incite minds on constant-alert, waiting for the next notification to react to and believe the worst.
The foundation of what we teach in my seminars and audio programs hinges on understanding the power and impact of human belief systems, the importance of clarifying one’s values, and the constant effect that language has in shaping our emotions and our lives.
To understand how our country’s discourse has deteriorated into constant conflict, consider the world’s foremost dictionaries recent Word of the Yearselections:
The very heart of my life’s work is empowering others to find the TRUTH that sets them free — the honesty and authenticity to breakthrough and expand. For more than 40 years I’ve encouraged people to seek the tools of transformation to grow into the men and women they dream to be in order to live the fulfilling lives they envision for their highest self. Through the course of my career, more than 50 million people have utilized my teachings — this includes more than 4 million people who have attended live events in-person.
My record is nearly a half-century long. I stand on that.
We need to start having a different nature of conversations in a very different way. Real change is nothing but finding new patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving that meets our collective needs on a deeper level than the previous pattern. This current pattern is no longer serving our highest good. We demonize human beings for simply being human. If we learn from our mistakes we will evolve into better human beings.
Amidst all the divisiveness in the world today, I truly believe there is a yearning and a calling within all of us for a kinder way — a life of compassion, forgiveness, and a desire to live as brothers and sisters. I pray that, out of all of this, we can choose to unite rather than separate; to drop our judgments and criticisms, and look for the goodness in each other. We are all human beings doing the best we can. It’s time we come together.
Millions of people have experienced life-changing breakthroughs and transformations on our journey of growth and I invite them to join me now to stop BuzzFeed and others from tearing our society down by denying and mischaracterizing the truth. Enough is enough.