According to an investigation from BuzzFeed News, self-help guru Tony Robbins has been accused of yelling at abuse victims and making sexual advances at his followers during his famous seminars. Jane Bradley and Katie J.M. Baker spent a year investigating the case, uncovering secret recordings and leaked emails.
Robbins is perhaps best known for his six-day “Date With Destiny” seminars. Currently, the event costs as much as $7,995 per person. He also has an annual membership program that costs $85,000.
BuzzFeed News obtained a recording from a December 2018 event in which Robbins can be heard accusing an abuse victim of “lying” about her experiences.
BuzzFeed News included a portion of the 50-minute audio file in the article as well as a transcript of the exchange, which happened at a Date with Destiny event.
In the secret recording, a woman attending the event disclosed to Robbins in front of an audience that she had been emotionally abused by her husband of seven years. She also told him that there “has been physical violence” in their relationship.
After describing the physical abuse, Robbins told the woman it “sounds like somebody that actually wants to engage with you because loves you, even if he’s frustrated he does it because he really wants — otherwise he’d ignore you.”
Later, the two had a tense exchange, still in front of the audience.
The self-help guru asked her if she had ever been a “crazy b—h.”
“Has he loved you?” Robbins said. “Has he looked out for you, does he put up with you when you’ve been a crazy bitch? Have you ever been a crazy bitch? Ever?”
“Probably, yes,” the woman answered, to which 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, according to the recording obtained by BuzzFeed News.
Robbins then rhetorically asked her if her husband should be “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 said. “Not that you’re lying that he is not behaving in ways that are great all the time so even harsh. But just I know by your body that you’re lying, I know by the words, I know by the content that you’re lying ’cause nobody is evil in every moment or you wouldn’t have been there for seven years.”
These accusations against Robbins come in the wake of the #MeToo movement, started by activist Tarana Burke in 2006. The floodgates for the movement and cultural shift were opened in 2017 when women came forward to accuse Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct. Since then, more than 50 women have come forward with allegations against Weinstein. Women have also come out with allegations against some of the most powerful figures in other industries, including media and politics.
Through a letter from his lawyers, Robbins denied the accusations in the BuzzFeed story.
When asked for comment from INSIDER, we were directed to a lengthy open letter from Robbins to BuzzFeed hosted on Medium.
In the letter, Robbins accused BuzzFeed News of publishing an “agenda-driven” article.
Robbins 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.
Read the full article “Tony Robbins is the world’s most famous self-help guru. This is the story he doesn’t want you to read,” at BuzzFeed News.
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.