Tony Robbins reportedly filmed using racial slurs in resurfaced video from 1980s

The self-help guru's reps have accused BuzzFeed News of taking excerpts of the video “out of context” having a “predetermined agenda and bias” in its reporting.
Image: Tony Robbins
Motivational speaker Tony Robbins speaks during the DreamForce Conference in San Francisco, California, on Oct. 4, 2016.David Paul Morris / Bloomberg via Getty Images

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By Daniella Silva

Self-help guru Tony Robbins was filmed repeatedly using racial slurs and saying he kissed a fan after she said his techniques did not work during a seminar in the 1980s, according to a video uncovered by BuzzFeed News.

In the video, Robbins is seen using the N-word and a racial slur for white people repeatedly during a section of an hourlong presentation. BuzzFeed published a shortened clip of the video showing Robbins’ use of the racial slurs. The news outlet said it discovered the video after receiving a tip from a reader.

Earlier, in the same video, Robbins is seen describing how he shocked a fan by kissing her during an exchange after she said during one of his events that his techniques were not working for her.

Robbins' lawyers strongly denied the motivational speaker was racist or racially insensitive and said the excerpts from the video show the presentation was “positive and was accepted in the context in which it was conducted: a passionate discussion about racism and how to rise above it.”

“Any other implication you might unilaterally attribute to the discussion is false and completely unsubstantiated,” one of his attorneys said in a letter to BuzzFeed. The letter said based on an initial evaluation of the excerpts, the video appeared to be from a presentation Robbins made in the early 1980s.

An attorney for Robbins confirmed the letter to NBC News. A spokesperson said Robbins was speaking at a private event.

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Robbins' representatives have also accused the news outlet of taking excerpts of the video “out of context” having a “predetermined agenda and bias” in its reporting.

A spokesperson for BuzzFeed said the full video of the presentation was presented in full context within the copy of the article and was also linked out to in the story.

The spokesperson said BuzzFeed isolated a few clips from the full video, in which Robbins “repeatedly uses racial slurs.”

“We would be eager to learn, however, about a context in which Mr. Robbins using the N-word is acceptable,” the spokesperson said.

Reporting of the video follows an investigation by BuzzFeed News last week in which Robbins was accused of making inappropriate sexual advances on fans and staff and berating abuse victims.

Following the initial investigation, the news outlet reported that four more women had come forward to accuse Robbins of sexual misconduct.

Robbins and his attorneys have vehemently denied the allegations and have pointed to statements from some alleged sources in BuzzFeed’s investigations defending Robbins or questioning the outlet’s reporting.

A spokesperson for Robbins said in a statement Friday in response to the three BuzzFeed reports that “Tony Robbins has never behaved in the reckless and malicious manner suggested by the false and unfounded allegations published by BuzzFeed.”

“BuzzFeed has manipulated facts and sourcing to present a false and one-sided negative narrative supporting its predetermined agenda to use Mr. Robbins as a convenient celebrity target,” spokeswoman Jennifer Connelly said.

Representatives for Robbins previously questioned BuzzFeed’s reporting, claims which BuzzFeed denies.

BuzzFeed News said in a statement Friday that it stands by “our extensive reporting, which is based on records of Mr. Robbins berating victims of rape and domestic violence, the testimony of former staffers and followers who accused him of inappropriate sexual advances and recordings of his own statements.”

“The video of Mr Robbins’ repeated use of the N-word, whether full or shortened, speaks for itself,” the statement said.