- Mike Windle/Getty Images
- Tony Robbins, world-renowned performance coach, has apologized for comments he made about the #MeToo movement at an event in March.
- Robbins told an audience member at the event that women use the movement to “get significance and certainty by attacking and destroying someone else.”
- NowThis tweeted a clip of the event that went viral.
- Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement said Robbins’ comments were especially damaging because of his tremendous influence.
World-renowned performance coach Tony Robbins has apologized for remarks he made in March, about how women use the #MeToo movement to “get significance.”
Robbins posted the apology on Facebook and linked to the statement on Twitter. It read, in part: “I apologize for suggesting anything other than my profound admiration for the #MeToo movement. Let me clearly say, I agree with the goals of the #MeToo movement and its founding message of ’empowerment through empathy,’ which makes it a beautiful force for good.”
Robbins made his original remarks on March 15, at “Unleash the Power Within,” a three-and-a-half day seminar that took place in San Jose, California. After Robbins praised Steve Wynn, the former CEO and chairman of Wynn Resorts who was accused of sexual harassment, an audience member named Nanine McCool raised her hand to challenge him.
McCool’s interaction with Robbins was filmed by activist and musician Butterscotch, who posted the roughly 11-minute video on YouTube.
The video didn’t get much attention until Friday, when NowThis tweeted a one-and-a-half minute clip from the video, which has since been viewed more than 5 million times.
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) April 6, 2018
“If you use the #MeToo movement to try to get significance and certainty by attacking and destroying someone else, you haven’t grown an ounce,” Robbins told McCool. “All you’ve basically done is used a drug called significance to make yourself feel good.”
McCool told Robbins, “I think you do the whole movement a disservice by characterizing it that way.” Audience members cheered and clapped in the background.
Robbins invited McCool, who later told Refinery29 that she was sexually abused as a child, to come closer to him and put out her fist. Then he proceeded to push his hand against hers and asked her why she was pushing back. (This is an exercise Robbins does often with clients.)
“When you push someone else, it doesn’t make you more safe,” Robbins told McCool. “It just makes them angry.”
Robbins went on to share an anecdote about a man he knows who was worried about hiring an attractive woman: “He knew, ‘I can’t have her around because it’s too big a risk,’ and he hired somebody else.”
On Saturday, the founder of the #MeToo movement, Tarana Burke, tweeted that Tony Robbins’ team had reached out to her to do “damage control” and provide context for Robbins’ comments.
I was made aware of this video BEFORE I ever saw it because Tony Robbins people reached out to do damage control within 24 hours. They wanted to “give me context” apparently. I don’t need any. I have eyes. The full video is 11 mins. And it’s gross. Bravo to this woman. https://t.co/gjbm9GF1Mz
— Tarana (@TaranaBurke) April 7, 2018
In one of a series of follow-up tweets, Burke wrote: “This moment is so damaging especially with how influential @TonyRobbins is. We have a hard enough time trying to shift the narrative about what this movement really is and he stands in front of thousands of his followers and completely misrepresents the @MeTooMVMT”
Robbins’ public apology mentioned that he personally was a victim of abuse as a child. Last year, Robbins told Business Insider that his mother physically and emotionally abused him.
“Sometimes, the teacher has to become the student,” Robbins wrote in the apology, “and it is clear that I still have much to learn.”