I used to worship you. Now I hear your name and I can feel the bile rising in my throat.
Dear Tony Robbins,
You built your empire on being a thought leader – someone who inspired others with their bravery, brutal honesty and insight. You helped millions, including me, build their best lives through your motivational words. You were, to many, a kind of God, and certainly a trusted guru.
But your latest comments have left me reeling in shock and disgust. They’ve thrown everything I thought I knew about you into question.
When Nanine McCool stood up to question your confusing stance on the #MeToo movement in your Unleash The Power Within seminar in San Jose last month, you didn’t validate, motivate or inspire her, or any of the millions listening in that day with your response.
“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,” you said.
“All you’ve done is basically use a drug called significance to make yourself feel good,” you continued on your rant.
Then it got worse.
You actually suggested women were at fault for men in positions of power being too scared of their own sexually inappropriate behavior to hire them.
“I was with someone the other day — very famous man, very powerful man — he’s saying how stressed he is because he interviewed three people that day. One was a woman, two were men. The woman was better qualified, but she was very attractive, and he knew, ‘I can’t have her around because it’s too big of a risk.’ And he hired somebody else. I’ve had a dozen men tell me this,” you told the crowd.
Your half-hearted social media apology today might have fooled a few. But it didn’t fool me.
In one fell swoop you’ve undermined an entire social movement, and exposed your thinly veiled misogyny. How are we to follow you now? How are we to look to you as a leader when you reduce an entire gender to our sexual currency and victim-shame?
Please, spare me your platitudes about being “empowered through empathy” – a truly empathetic person would never use their position of incredible influence to condemn and shame genuine survivors of sexual abuse.
A true motivational coach would not patronizingly claim to “admire” a movement just weeks after attempting to detonate everything it stands for.
I grew up reading your books, listening to your self-help tapes and watching your videos, believing, because of you, that my worth in this world didn’t have to be defined by my gender or my sexuality, but instead, by my individual power as a human being.
I eagerly streamed your self-promoting documentary I Am Not Your Guru when it was released on Netflix and once again felt moved by your story of rags to riches, of someone who beat seemingly unbeatable odds and rose against adversity and abuse to become a success.
But the success I, along with your millions of other once loyal fans, helped you achieve over the years has allowed you to have a powerful platform you’ve now chosen to use not to continue to lead and inspire, but to espouse sexist bullshit that never should had five seconds of air time.
When I hear your name now, I no longer feel inspired.
Instead, I feel disgusted I ate up your self-promoting propaganda for so long. I can actually feel the bile rising up in my throat as I think of all the women that heard you, their God and guru, reduce their horror stories to shallow attempts to seek attention.
Because, Tony Robbins, you are not my guru anymore. You are not any of ours anymore.
You are just, sadly, another powerful man who has abused his platform for your own selfish gain.
Comment: What’s your reaction to Tony Robbins recent comments and apology regarding the #MeToo movement?