Self-Help Guru Tony Robbins Denies Sexual Misconduct Allegations, Calling Report 'Ridiculous'
Self-help guru Tony Robbins is denying claims of sexual misconduct and abuse published in a scathing report from Buzzfeed News.
On Friday, the outlet published its results of a “year-long investigation” into the 59-year-old author and life coach, alleging that Robbins has berated abuse victims, sexually harassed women and subjected his clients to “potentially dangerous techniques.” The report features records and interviews with fans and insiders, some of whom have accused the mogul of “inappropriate sexual advances.”
However, the guru holds that the report was published with the “malicious intent to ‘take Tony Robbins down.’ “
“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 in an open letter shared via Medium on Friday. “I have never behaved in the reckless, irresponsible, or malicious manner intimated by false, unfounded, and incendiary allegations suggested by BuzzFeed story-tellers.”
In response to the claims, a rep for Robbins tells PEOPLE he “has addressed everything” in the open letter, in which he praises his decades-long career.
The report features accounts from five women who said Robbins made “inappropriate sexual advances” in the 1990s and early 2000s. One former employee alleged that “she was fired after having a consensual sexual relationship with Robbins.” Additionally, “Two former followers who went on to work for Robbins provided BuzzFeed News with signed statements swearing under oath that they felt he had sexually harassed them by repeatedly pursuing them after they made clear they weren’t interested,” the report states.
“Two more women who worked as his assistants said Robbins expected them to work alone with him when he was naked in his hotel room or in the shower,” the report adds.
As for Robbins’ popular seminars, records allegedly reveal that he berated a rape survivor in front of his audience, saying, “She’s f—ing using all this stuff to try and control men.”
The report alleges that Robbins created a “highly sexualized” environment in which “both men and women have been told to touch themselves intimately and simulate orgasms — but he has repeatedly singled women out of the crowd for more personal attention.”
Although Robbins did not address specific accusations in his letter, he alleged that BuzzFeed investigators targeted “well-known individuals with false allegations.” The letter also included a YouTube video from a woman who said the seminar footage of her work with Robbins was taken out of context.
BuzzFeed reported that in a letter from his lawyers, Robbins “vehemently denied” inappropriate sexual behavior, including “sending security personnel into the crowd to solicit women on his behalf, or making such approaches personally.”
Robbins’ lawyers said he was “never intentionally naked” in front of staff, adding, “To the extent that he may have been unclothed at various times in his home or in hotels when working while either dressing or showering, and whether a personal assistant may have been present for some reason at that time, Mr. Robbins has no recollection.”
BuzzFeed reported that Robbins’ attorneys said he “admits he has made mistakes in relationships and other aspects of his life but he never behaved in the manner intimated by these salacious and false accusations,” adding that he had been “faithful and committed” to his second wife Sage, whom he married in 2001. Robbins’ lawyers also wrote that no one has “ever filed a verbal or written sexual harassment or abuse complaint against Mr. Robbins in the last four decades.”
In a statement to PEOPLE, BuzzFeed stood by its reporting.
“Our reporting is 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,” the statement reads.
“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.”