Image via Justin Levy/Flickr CC
Tony Robbins is best known for helping people take the “next step” in their lives through a combination of straight talk, tough love and inspirational speeches. But what Robbins said recently got him in real hot water with a lot of his fans.
During a recent event, Robbins got in an argument with a woman named Nanine McCool about the nature and mission of the #MeToo movement. McCool recorded the confrontation and posted it on her YouTube channel. In the video, Robbins can be seen glowering down at McCool, making physical contact with her and disparaging the movement itself.
Robbins comments, in part, included the following: “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. All you’ve done is basically use a drug called significance to make yourself feel good…”
At the time, McCool agreed that some people are piggybacking on the movement for their own personal gain, but said that majority of people just want the world to be safer for women. Speaking to Robbins, she said: “You’re a leader and an influential man and you are doing a disservice, in my opinion, to the #MeToo movement…”
At the time of the exchange, Robbins said he was not doing any disservice to any women by stating his perspective, adding that he was not “gonna be inauthentic and say I’m sorry about something I’m not sorry about…”
After McCool posted her YouTube video, Robbins seems to have shifted his perspective. The motivational speaker responded to the criticism of his recorded comments by saying:
“My comments failed to reflect the respect I have for everything Tarana Burke and the #MeToo movement has achieved… I apologize for suggesting anything other than my profound admiration for the #MeToo movement.”
Tarana Burke, who is credited with helping to kickstart the #MeToo movement, said she had been “made aware” of the exchange before the video went viral. “Tony Robbins’ people reached to do damage control within 24 hours (of the conversation). They wanted to give me context… I don’t need any. I have eyes. Bravo to this woman. “
So, it doesn’t look like Robbins will be getting a pass either from Burke or her legion of fans. But what will Robbins’ own legion of fans – who include journalist Ken Kurson – think about the video when they see it? It’s one thing for people who are already committed to supporting the movement to come down on Tony, but what will the people who buy his tickets and merchandise think?
So far, the reaction has been mixed, at least on social media. And Robbins failed attempt to get into Burke’s good graces won’t help. The founder of MeToo has doubled down now, saying Robbins has a misogyny that “runs deep.”
McCool, meanwhile, says she isn’t interested in burying Robbins: “If we’re all agreeing with each other, if we shut down all the people who don’t agree with us then we have no discussion and we get nowhere… I hope what we can actually do is create a discussion with Tony Robbins instead of at Tony Robbins.”
So far, that’s not happening… Though it’s clear Robbins hopes that stage of the conversation will begin soon. So far, his efforts to begin it have been strongly rejected.