Tony Robbins Accused of Sexual Misconduct and Berating Victims of Rape and Abuse

Self-help guru Tony Robbins is now in the crosshairs of the #MeToo movement, accused of sexual misconduct by former fans and staffers, and of regularly berating victims of rape, violence and abuse as a form of “therapy.”

The allegations are contained in a lengthy story posted by BuzzFeed News Friday after the online news outlet conducted a yearlong investigation based on leaked recordings, internal documents, and dozens of interviews with fans and insiders.

Nevertheless, some of the men and women interviewed have mixed feelings about Robbins: They might be offended by some of his past behavior but remain grateful to him for “saving” or “changing” their lives, they told BuzzFeed.

Through his powerful Hollywood law firm, Lavely & Singer, Robbins has vehemently denied the allegations contained in the BuzzFeed story. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY.

Robbins, 59, the “most famous self-help guru in the world,” according to BuzzFeed, skyrocketed to rock-star fame in the 1990s, filling arenas around the world, hailed by thousands of screaming fans. People who said they were victims of sexual and physical abuse, who struggled with addiction or mental illness, paid thousands of dollars to see him on the promise he could teach them to stop thinking of themselves as “victims” and thus overcome pain. A self-described enemy of “victimhood,” he claimed he had the power to “transform your life.”

BuzzFeed claims Robbins’ empire is policed by strict confidentiality agreements and contracts forbidding attendees at his coaching camps from recording what goes on inside. He was supposed to be helping people; instead, he subjected his followers to unorthodox and potentially dangerous “therapeutic” techniques, BuzzFeed reported.

Robbins has not been a fan of the #MeToo movement: Last spring, leaked video emerged of him calling the movement an excuse for some women to “try and get significance” by “attacking and destroying someone else.” He apologized later.

“Secret recordings and transcripts from inside his events reveal Robbins has unleashed expletive-laden tirades on survivors of rape and domestic violence after inviting them to share their stories in front of a vast audience,” BuzzFeed reported.

“She’s (expletive) using all this stuff to try and control men,” Robbins reportedly said after one woman said she had been raped. In 2018, after another woman said her husband was physically violent and emotionally abusive, Robbins accused her of ‘lying’ and asked, “Does he put up with you when you’ve been a crazy (expletive)?”

Experts on domestic and sexual violence who reviewed transcripts of Robbins’ private events said berating traumatized women and blaming them for their reactions to abuse is a dangerous strategy.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Maria Puente