Tony Robbins has gained a reputation as one of the foremost self-help gurus, helping millions of people reach their full potential and unlock their inner strength.
But a new investigative report paints a very different picture of Robbins, detailing extensive allegations of verbal abuse and sexual harassment both toward his staffers and audience members seeking to get help from him. The report was compiled by BuzzFeed News, which noted that Robbins has gained an enormous following while keeping the allegations of abuse quiet.
After an investigation that took a full year and included dozens of interviews with those close to Robbins, BuzzFeed News found that Robbins had a very different private persona than the one he portrays in public. Two women who worked as personal assistants said Robbins expected them to work alone while he was naked in his hotel room or shower.
Other secret recordings allegedly show Robbins verbally attacking victims of rape and domestic abuse who seek help at his events. Of one woman who had been raped, Robbins was recorded as saying, “She’s f***ing using all this stuff to try and control men,” per a transcription found on Document Cloud.
Some close to Robbins said he would send bodyguards into audiences to find attractive women and solicit them on his behalf.
The report found that those closest to Robbins — including some allegedly subjected to verbal abuse — were conflicted. One woman who he reportedly accused of lying when she claimed her husband was abusive told BuzzFeed News that she was grateful for her interactions with Robbins and his advice for her not to be a victim.
Tony Robbins had previously been criticized for his attack on the #MeToo movement, which seeks to empower victims of sexual abuse to come forward and share their stories. As The New York Times reported, Robbins told attendees at an event in San Diego that he believed the movement was being used improperly by people looking to further themselves.
“If you use the Me Too movement to try to get significance and certainty by attacking and destroying someone else, you haven’t grown an ounce,” he said. “All you’ve done is basically use a drug called significance to make yourself feel good.”
Robbins later apologized, saying the statements did not capture his true feelings and respect for the #MeToo movement.
Self-help superstar Tony Robbins has used his fame to berate victims of rape and violence, while female former staffers and followers have accused him of inappropriate sexual advances. A blockbuster investigation by @jane__bradley and @katiejmbaker. https://t.co/2kmgh9zbOC
— Heidi Blake (@HeidilBlake) May 17, 2019
Tony Robbins denied all the allegations in the recent report, saying he never engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior and said he has “no recollection” of being naked in front of staffers. Robbins also retained a powerful law firm to strike back against the allegations – the same one employed by Bill Cosby. The firm was aggressive in attempts to thwart the story, including sending threatening letters to those close to Robbins who spoke with BuzzFeed News and threatening legal action against the outlet itself.