- A BuzzFeed News investigation published Friday said the self-help guru Tony Robbins had yelled at victims of abuse and had been accused of making sexual advances toward his followers during his seminars.
- The outlet said it obtained a 50-minute audio recording of a woman telling Robbins at a 2018 event that she had been abused by her husband and Robbins accusing her of “lying.”
- He also asked the woman if she had “ever been a crazy b—-.”
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A BuzzFeed News investigation published Friday said the self-help guru Tony Robbins had yelled at victims of abuse and had been accused of making sexual advances toward his followers during his seminars.
The reporters Jane Bradley and Katie J.M. Baker spent a year investigating, uncovering secret recordings and leaked emails.
Robbins is perhaps best known for his six-day “Date With Destiny” seminars, which costs as much as $US8,000 per person. He also has an annual membership program that costs $US85,000.
BuzzFeed News said it obtained a 50-minute recording from a Date With Destiny event in December which Robbins can be heard accusing a woman of “lying” about her experiences.
BuzzFeed News included a portion of the audio file in the article, as well as a transcript of the exchange.
In the recording, the woman told Robbins in front of an audience that she had been emotionally abused by her husband of seven years and that there “has been physical violence” in their relationship.
BuzzFeed News obtained a 50-minute recording from a private event in which Robbins ranted after a woman said her husband was violent. "Does he put up with you when you've been a crazy bitch?" he asked. https://t.co/X6roA30vBK pic.twitter.com/6zRbbuBhVb
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) May 17, 2019
Robbins told the woman it “sounds like somebody that actually wants to engage with you because he loves you, even if he’s frustrated he does it because he really wants – otherwise he’d ignore you.”
The two later had a tense exchange in front of the audience.
Robbins asked her if she had ever been a “crazy b—-.”
“Has he loved you?” Robbins said. “Has he looked out for you? Does he put up with you when you’ve been a crazy b—-? Have you ever been a crazy b—-? Ever?”
“Probably, yes,” the woman answered. The crowd laughed, according to the transcript.
He proceeded to accuse her of lying.
“So you’d like to stay married to him – why?” Robbins asked the woman.
“Shouldn’t this guy be out, strung up and shot? The way you describe him, he certainly should, and I would normally join you if I didn’t know you were lying,” Robbins added. “Not that you’re lying that he is not behaving in ways that are great all the time or even harsh. But just I know by your body that you’re lying. I know by the words. I know by the context that you’re lying, because nobody is evil in every moment or you wouldn’t have been there for seven years.”
The accusations against Robbins come amid the #MeToo movement against sexual violence, started by the activist Tarana Burke in 2006. The floodgates for the movement and a cultural shift opened in 2017 after several women came forward in two New York Times and New Yorker articles to accuse the Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct; since then, more than 50 more women have come forward with allegations against Weinstein. Women have also come forward with allegations against some of the most powerful figures in other industries, including media and politics.
Through a letter from his lawyers to BuzzFeed News, Robbins denied the accusations in the article.
When INSIDER asked for comment, we were directed to a lengthy open letter from Robbins to BuzzFeed News on Medium.
In the letter, Robbins described the article as “agenda-driven,” accused the reporters of not meeting with him, and said the “claims range from indistinct to ridiculous.”
“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,” Robbins wrote.
If you are a victim of sexual assault, you can visit RAINN or call its hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to receive confidential support from a trained staff member.
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