On Friday, BuzzFeed published a litany of allegations of misconduct — sexual and otherwise — against self-help guru Tony Robbins.
The report included claims that Robbins hit on women who worked for him after they made it clear they did not want to be with him (before his marriage to his second wife) and that he “berated” abuse victims during his unorthodox seminars.
Robbins, who made critical comments of the #MeToo movement last year, said the report presents an “inaccurate, agenda-driven version of the past.” The superstar’s legal team likewise hit BuzzFeed, claiming the publication was “pursuing a ‘predetermined’ narrative” during their “investigation.”
“A yearlong investigation by BuzzFeed News, based on leaked recordings, internal documents, and dozens of interviews with fans and insiders, reveals how Robbins has berated abuse victims and subjected his followers to unorthodox and potentially dangerous techniques. And former female fans and staffers have accused him of inappropriate sexual advances,” the BuzzFeed report said, adding: “Two former followers who went on to work for Robbins provided BuzzFeed News with signed statements swearing under oath that they felt he had sexually harassed them by repeatedly pursuing them after they made clear they weren’t interested.”
Two female former assistants said they were “expected” to “work alone with [Robbins] when he was naked in his hotel room or in the shower.” Another woman who formerly worked for Robbins said she was fired after a consensual sexual relationship with the self-help expert.
“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,” Robbins responded in a Medium post published on Friday, titled, “An Open Letter to BuzzFeed Editors and Board of Directors from Tony Robbins.”
“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.”
“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,” he added.
Robbins’ legal representation, Lavely & Singer, “accused the reporters of pursuing a ‘predetermined’ narrative against Robbins ‘as part of their “Me Too” Agenda.’ The firm threatened legal action that would have a ‘devastating impact on the financial condition of BuzzFeed and its investors,’” the BuzzFeed report states.
Lavely & Singer also defended comments about victimhood from Robbins in what BuzzFeed called "secretly recorded audio" from December 2018. The self-help master merely stated: “Victimhood is now rewarded in our culture,” and said anyone can “make claims about anybody, and everyone jumps to support them.”
“While BuzzFeed attempts to portray Mr. Robbins’ remarks in a negative fashion, it is important to remember that when Mr. Robbins says something like ‘victimhood is rewarded in our culture’ that's because, in some cases, it is,” the duo wrote.
In March of last year, Robbins’ comments about the excesses of the #MeToo movement and “victimhood” went viral. “According to Robbins, some women are using the movement as a ‘drug’ to ‘try to get significance.’ Robbins argued, ‘anger is not empowerment.’ He also noted that he's spoken to ‘a dozen’ men in power concerned that the movement would unfairly swallow them too, highlighting one businessman who apparently passed on a qualified 'attractive' female job candidate out of fear,” The Daily Wire reported at the time.