Life coach and motivational speaker Tony Robbins is facing some hefty criticism by supporters of the #MeToo movement after a video of his comments about it went viral. The clip, filmed and uploaded back in March, features an audience member at a seminar in California named Nanine McCool telling Robbins that he “misunderstands” the #MeToo movement by claiming it is about “victimhood” and its use to gain significance in life. Robbins repeatedly interrupts McCool in the nearly 11-minute clip, sharing a view that the founder of #MeToo has deemed misogyny:
“If you use the #MeToo movement to try to get significance and certainty by attacking and destroying someone else… all you’ve done is basically use a drug called significance to make yourself feel good,” Robbins told the audience.
Robbins told the audience he wasn’t “knocking the #MeToo movement,” but was “knocking victimhood.” He addressed the crowd, asking them to consider the impact of it while saying “anger is not empowerment.”
“Who should throw the stone? You shouldn’t throw that stone if you live in a f—ing glass house,” Robbins said. “Is there any one of us that hasn’t done something that we prefer we’d not or that we’re embarrassed by or that was hurtful even if we didn’t intend it to?”
Robbins also adds a few personal anecdotes about #MeToo according to Glamour, in what seems to be an attempt to defend his point:
“I was just 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,” Robbins explained. “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.”
The clip immediately drew criticism from supporters of #MeToo as it spread:
But the strongest condemnation came from Tarana Burke, the founder of the movement. She claims that she was contacted by Robbins’ representatives before she even saw the clip, claiming they wanted to do “damage control” and provide context for the answer. She quickly condemns the full video, though, and adds that his personal anecdote makes it out to be #MeToo’s fault instead of the man telling him about his situation.
Burke closes out her comments by saying she doesn’t expect Robbins to apologize and his stance is “damaging” given his influence with people. Burke urged Robbins to “talk to more SURVIVORS and less sexist businessmen” for a better understanding. Since the video broke out and the story picked up steam on Saturday, Robbins released an apology for his comments and said he is “committed to being part of the solution”: