Tony Robbins is the subject of a new, explosive exposÃ© shedding light on his alleged unethical behavior.
On Friday, BuzzFeed News released a piece accusing the self-help guru of beratingÂ victims of rape and violence, in addition to making inappropriate sexual advances toward female staffers.
From their yearlong investigation — based onÂ leaked recordings, internal documents, and dozens of interviews with fans and insiders — the publication profiled several accusers including:Â two followers-turned-employees who signed statements saying they felt sexually harassed by him; two assistants who said Robbins expected them to work alone with him while he was naked in his hotel room or in the shower; andÂ another former employee who said she was fired after the two had a consensual sexual relationship.
The women said these alleged events took placeÂ in the 1990s and early 2000s, before the now-59-year-old married his second wife, Sage.
According to one follower-turned-employee, known simply as Marie, Robbins allegedly repeatedly made advances on her, but she declined because Tony was her “mentor,” and she “didnâ€™t want to blur any lines.” Marie said she was eventually fired without explanation.
According to a former personal assistant, identified only as â€œB.,â€� Robbins allegedlyÂ made her take notes while he showered.Â She recalled:
â€œHe would call you into the bathroom with him. â€˜Hey come here, I need you to make a note of something’… He just didnâ€™t care, he was too powerful.'”
Another employeeÂ who worked for Robbins from the late 1990s to early 2000s,Â Kate Rittase, said she had to allegedlyÂ work with him while he was nude. She remembered:
â€œMy job would be to get him out of bed in the morning so Iâ€™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.â€�
Additionally, a woman known as Kay — who worked for RobbinsÂ in the late â€˜90s — said he once allegedlyÂ whispered in her ear at a seminar:
â€œI wanna see you have an orgasm.”
One staffer —Â identified only as “J.” — said the two had a consensual sexual relationship that resulted in her getting fired after his then-wife became suspicious.
Per a former bodyguard, who reportedly worked for Robbins for over a decade, the guru allegedly often gave him notes to pass to â€œyoung, attractive women” at his seminars, explaining:
â€œItâ€™s who he is to take advantage of women.â€�
According to a 50-minute secret recording of Robbins at aÂ December 2018 “Date With Destiny” event in Palm Beach, Florida, Tony allegedly berated a woman after she told the audienceÂ that her husband had emotionally abused her.
He allegedly said:
â€œWhat the f**k is emotional abuse?… Are we that f**king weak that someone canâ€™t tell you with passion what they f**king feel without them abusing you?… Are we that f**king weak that someone can’t tell you with passion what they f**king feel without them abusing you? She’s focused on her needs… We’ve not heard one thing in the last 12 minutes about his needs. And we’re already characterizing it as emotional violence. There’s no f**king thing.”
However, RobbinsÂ vehemently denies â€œengaging in any alleged â€˜inappropriate sexual behavior,â€™â€� such as sending security personnel into the crowd to solicit women on his behalf, or making such approaches personally.
According to his lawyers in a letter, the life coachÂ was â€œnever intentionally nakedâ€� in front of staff, adding:
â€œTo the extent that he may have been unclothed at various times in his home or in hotels when working while either dressing or showering, and whether a personal assistant may have been present for some reason at that time, Mr. Robbins has no recollection.â€�
The statement also noted that RobbinsÂ â€œadmits he has made mistakes in relationships and other aspects of his life but he never behaved in the manner intimated by these salacious and false accusations,â€� and that he has been â€œfaithful and committedâ€� to his wife.
His legal team also claimed that no one has â€œever filed a verbal or written sexual harassment or abuse complaint against Mr. Robbins in the last four decades.”
In regards to his alleged treatment of abuse victims, the firmÂ denied that Robbinsâ€™ comments were harmful, or that he exposed his fans to potentially dangerous techniques. On the contrary, they saidÂ Robbins goes to â€œgreat lengths to ensure the safety, comfort and enjoyment of all attendees.â€�
Additionally, on Friday, Robbins wrote an open letter to Medium, once again, denying the allegations.
“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 lifeâ€™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.
Please see this video with one personâ€™s account of how your reporters so eagerly tossed her truth aside: https://youtu.be/xJ3kWMBJE5Y
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 teamâ€™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 20â€“30 years agoâ€Šâ€”â€Šwhen I was in my 20â€™s and early 30â€™sâ€Šâ€”â€ŠI 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 Buzzfeedâ€™s predetermined thesis.
What stands outâ€Šâ€”â€Ševen in todayâ€™s sea of mis-representation and journalistic corner-cuttingâ€Šâ€”â€Šis 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 clientâ€™s personal accounts at the hands of your reporters.
Why didnâ€™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.’Â As we all know, in the context of a just democracy, there are always two sides.
In my six decades on this earth, Iâ€™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 weâ€™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 oneâ€™s values, and the constant effect that language has in shaping our emotions and our lives.
To understand how our countryâ€™s discourse has deteriorated into constant conflict, consider the worldâ€™s foremost dictionaries recent Word of the YearÂ selections:
- In 2016 Oxford Dictionary chose: â€œpost-truthâ€�
- In 2017 Collins Dictionary chose: â€œfake newsâ€�
- In 2018 Dictionary.com chose: â€œmis-informationâ€�
The very heart of my lifeâ€™s work is empowering others to find the TRUTH that sets them freeâ€Šâ€”â€Šthe honesty and authenticity to breakthrough and expand. For more than 40 years Iâ€™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 teachingsâ€Šâ€”â€Šthis 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 wayâ€Šâ€”â€Ša 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. Itâ€™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.
Below is a link to just one example of an individual who is frustrated by the way your reporters tried to take two minutes of seminar footage out of context in order to frame my two hours of work with her as ‘abusive’ rather than acknowledging her direct experience and testimony to you of how it positively and profoundly changed her life. https://youtu.be/xJ3kWMBJE5Y'”
[Image via Michael Carpenter/WENN.]
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