Amid backlash from many, including the movement’s founder, motivational speaker Tony Robbins has apologized for suggesting that some women are using the #MeToo movement to gain “significance” through “victimhood.”
After all, how dare he have an opinion, let alone voice it?
“At a recent Unleash the Power Within event in San Jose, my comments failed to reflect the respect I have for everything Tarana Burke and the #MeToo movement has achieved,” Robbins said in a message shared on Facebook. “‘I apologize for suggesting anything other than my profound admiration for the #MeToo movement.”
“Let me clearly say,” he continued, “I agree with the goals of the #MeToo movement and its founding message of ’empowerment through empathy,’ which makes it a beautiful force for good.”
Robbins’ critical remarks came last month in an exchange with a woman attending his “Unleash the Power Within” seminar in San Jose.
The woman, identified as Nanine McCool, said she was a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.
“So I think you misunderstand the #MeToo movement,” McCool began, before being interrupted mid-sentence by Robbins.
“Not for you, personally. I’m not misunderstanding you,” he said. “You can educate me. I’m telling you I’ve read these. My life is about helping people.”
Robbins would say that he was “not knocking the #MeToo movement, I’m knocking victimhood,” adding that some women are using the movement for personal gain.
“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,” he said. “All you’ve done is basically use a drug called significance to make yourself feel good.”
McCool more or less agreed with Robbins assertion that some women are using the movement, but told the motivational speaker that he’s “doing a disservice” with his remarks.
“You are a leader and an influential man, and you are doing a disservice, in my opinion, to the #MeToo movement,” she said. “Certainly there are people who are using it for their own personal devices, but there are also a significant number of people who are using it not to relive whatever may have happened to them, but to make it safe for the young women. So that they don’t have to feel unsafe.”
Tarana Burke, who created the #MeToo hashtag, didn’t mince her words in replying to Robbins.
“I was made aware of this video BEFORE I ever saw it because Tony Robbins people reached out to do damage control within 24 hours. They wanted to ‘give me context’ apparently. I don’t need any. I have eyes. The full video is 11 mins. And it’s gross. Bravo to this woman,” she tweeted.
I was made aware of this video BEFORE I ever saw it because Tony Robbins people reached out to do damage control within 24 hours. They wanted to “give me context” apparently. I don’t need any. I have eyes. The full video is 11 mins. And it’s gross. Bravo to this woman. https://t.co/gjbm9GF1Mz
— Tarana (@TaranaBurke) April 7, 2018
As for the apology, it seems few on the left were in a mood to turn the other cheek, opting instead to eviscerate Robbins… who, despite his faults, expressed an opinion that appears to have some substance to it, as McCool admitted.
Here’s a sampling of responses from Twitter:
i would love nothing more than if the tony robbins thing ushers in an end to the era of grifter motivational speakers/life coach-y dudes who talk earnestly about the need to “hustle” and “grind”
— maya kosoff (@mekosoff) April 9, 2018
20 years ago I had a Tony Robbins cassette and a drunken buddy got in my car- it began to play, he ejected it, threw it out the window & said "dude sucks" and fell asleep. He knew.
— Chris Franjola (@ChrisFranjola) April 8, 2018
thank u tony robbins for the revelation that every time I've never gotten a job it's because I was TOO PRETTY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i've never felt so alive
— Sara Schaefer (@saraschaefer1) April 8, 2018
This @TonyRobbins statement is absurd. It's overproduced, comes across as disingenuous, and is used to promote his brand rather than offer contrition. https://t.co/pK8XS4ylTK
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) April 8, 2018
Nah you showed your true colors @TonyRobbins. We see you. https://t.co/oQs5OuukHq
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) April 8, 2018
I own a headset microphone, a PA system, a booming voice and high energy.
Let us collectively retire Tony Robbins and I’ll yell clichés and motivational memes at you for free instead.
— Julie S. Lalonde (@JulieSLalonde) April 8, 2018
Tony Robbins apologizes.
Does someone need a life coach?
— Ryan Stiles (@WhoseRyanStiles) April 8, 2018
“I am committed to helping to educate others so that we all stay true to the ideals of the #MeToo movement.” I think Tony Robbins would be better served STFU & listening for a loooooong while. https://t.co/NoUxNFEbJf
— Sarah Lerner (@SarahLerner) April 9, 2018
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