Tony Robbins Fails to Support Women on #MeToo

At one of his famous self-help seminars just a few short weeks ago, life coach Tony Robbins made vocal his doubts on the #MeToo movement; claiming it to be a “drug with which women try to get significance” (and yes, that is a direct quote). Robbins claimed he wasn’t attacking the movement itself, only the “victimhood” that he believes comes along with it; however, he made his stance perfectly clear. 

Sexual abuse survivor Nanine McCool attempted to confront Robbins and retaliate his ignorant remarks, but Robbins insisted that he knew better than her. He went on to clarify his stance, continuing to label the movement as a movement of anger as opposed to empowerment. Robbins said, "Is there anyone 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?” Clearly, Robbins does not and cannot understand the severity of sexual assault, and does not seem to even attempt to. He has since apologized for his remarks, but the impact has already been made. 

While Robbins may have thought he had been helping others, his remarks were ignorant at best if not dangerous. Survivor movements such as #MeToo are not about gaining pity or personal significance, and reducing them to such is disgraceful and cruel. These movements are about empowering victims of trauma, lifting them up, and letting them know they are not alone in their struggle. People share their stories not to seek attention, but to make sure that others won’t have those kinds of stories to tell. It isn’t about plotting to take down powerful men at the height of their careers, or using their fame to get victims names on the front page of some cheap tabloid. It is about calling out these dangerous, powerful men, men who believe they can get away with anything because of their fame, fortune, and status in society. 

Remarks such as the ones Robbins made takes the power of the movement and puts it back into the hands of abusers, who will continue to abuse their power so long as the public takes their side. Acknowledging and believing the stories of survivors is the first step to ending the epidemic of sexual assault. Victim blaming, shaming, and criticizing will only further perpetuate this vicious cycle.