Tony Robbins accused of sexual misconduct, berating abuse victims

Tony Robbins has been accused of making inappropriate sexual advances on fans and staff and berating abuse victims in an report released by BuzzFeed News.
Key Speakers At 2016 The Dreamforce Conference
Motivational speaker Tony Robbins during the DreamForce Conference in San Francisco on Oct. 4, 2016.David Paul Morris / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

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By Daniella Silva and Chelsea Damberg

Self-help guru Tony Robbins has been accused of making inappropriate sexual advances on fans and staff and berating abuse victims in an investigation published by BuzzFeed News on Friday.

BuzzFeed said its report stemmed from an investigation that was based on leaked recordings, internal documents related to Robbins’ work and a series of interviews with fans and insiders. The allegations include sexual misconduct or harassment that took place in the 1990s and early 2000s, before he married his second wife, as well as claims Robbins berated victims of rape or domestic abuse during his self-help sessions.

NBC News has not been able to speak to BuzzFeed’s unidentified sources. It was not clear how many women BuzzFeed spoke to for its report.

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Robbins vehemently denied the claims in a response on the website Medium on Friday, saying in part that the news outlet was publishing an “inaccurate, agenda-driven version of the past, pierced with falsehoods.”

“It is intended to disparage me personally, my family, my life’s work, and the efforts of the millions of individuals around the globe who have taken this journey with me over the last 40-plus years,” Robbins wrote.

Robbins said BuzzFeed News’ reporters “rejected and otherwise ignored factual accounts” from individuals and said others contacted him “to let us know that you attempted to manipulate their testimony and, in some cases, even ignored their legal counsel when they pointed out inaccuracies and mischaracterizations of their client’s personal accounts at the hands of your reporters.”

The motivational speaker has a massive following worldwide, a multibillion-dollar business and has been associated with celebrities and well-known figures such as Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, the Kardashians, Oprah Winfrey and Pitbull.

In a statement to NBC News, BuzzFeed said its reporting was “based on records of Mr. Robbins berating victims of rape and domestic violence, and the testimony of former staffers and followers who accused him of inappropriate sexual advances.”

“It does not appear that Mr. Robbins read the story itself before he published his open letter, which contains a number of demonstrably false and defamatory claims about both our reporting and the resulting article,” the statement said.

A BuzzFeed spokesperson said they deny the claims Robbins made about their reporting, such as rejecting or ignoring factual accounts.

Robbins previously apologized in April 2018 after a leaked video revealed him saying the #MeToo movement was an excuse for some women to "get significance" by "attacking and destroying someone else."