Self-help coach Tony Robbins denied a BuzzFeed News report Friday that he sexually harassed five women in the 1990s and early 2000s, saying the story was an “inaccurate, agenda-driven” report that was “pierced with falsehoods.”
BuzzFeed reported that two former female employees of Robbins signed sworn statements saying “he had sexually harassed them by repeatedly pursuing them after they made clear they weren’t interested.” Another two women who worked for Robbins, according to BuzzFeed, said the motivational speaker “expected them to work alone with him when he was naked in his hotel room or in the shower.” A fifth woman said Robbins fired her after they had a consensual sexual relationship.
In a Medium blog post published soon after BuzzFeed’s report, Robbins said BuzzFeed’s yearlong investigation was carried out with “malicious intent.” Robbins said BuzzFeed refused to meet in-person, despite Robbins wanting to share “key evidence” that would contradict the report. “Your claims range from indistinct to ridiculous,” Robbins said.
BuzzFeed said Robbins also created a “highly sexualized environment” in which his followers were told to “touch themselves intimately and simulate orgasms.” The website also reported that secret recordings and transcripts revealed he had “unleashed expletive-laden tirades” on survivors of rape and domestic violence.
“She’s f—ing using all this stuff to try and control men,” Robbins said after one woman said she’d been raped, according to BuzzFeed.
BuzzFeed said that in 2018, Robbins said a different woman was “lying” about her husband being physically abusive, and asked: “Does he put up with you when you’ve been a crazy bitch?” But BuzzFeed also said that the woman told BuzzFeed News that talking with Robbins was a positive experience and that she was grateful for his advice not to be a victim. She told BuzzFeed that the advice had helped her leave the relationship.
Robbins said BuzzFeed intentionally took his seminars “out of context,” and provided video testimony from fans supporting his approach.
He said on Medium: “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 Buzzfeed’s predetermined thesis.”
In a letter that his attorneys sent to BuzzFeed, Robbins “vehemently denied” engaging in any inappropriate sexual behavior and said that he was “never intentionally naked” in front of his staff.
“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,” Robbins said in his Medium post. “I have never behaved in the reckless, irresponsible, or malicious manner intimated by false, unfounded, and incendiary allegations suggested by BuzzFeed story-tellers.”
A representative for Robbins did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.