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#MeToo founder calls out Tony Robbins for his tone-deaf comments on the movement – ANITH
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#MeToo founder calls out Tony Robbins for his tone-deaf comments on the movement

#MeToo founder calls out Tony Robbins for his tone-deaf comments on the movement


Tony Robbins in 2017.

Image: Paul Zimmerman / Stringer via Getty Images

Life coach Tony Robbins dug himself into a hole last month when his comments suggesting that some women use the #MeToo movement to make themselves “feel good” made the rounds online. Now, the backlash is picking up steam.

On Saturday, #MeToo movement founder Tarana Burke weighed in on Robbins after a video from Now This News brought his comments back into the spotlight.

The condensed and edited clip shows bits of a talk the motivational speaker gave in San Jose on March 15 during which he argued with an audience member named Nanine McCool over his characterization of the #MeToo movement. According to Mercury News, a video of Robbins’s full comments was removed from Facebook last month after his team asked for it be pulled. At the time of publishing this piece, another version of the video was available to view on YouTube

“I’m not mocking the #MeToo movement, I’m mocking victimhood,” he told McCool and the audience, according the longer video from the event. “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.”

McCool responded: “I hear you mischaracterizing the #MeToo movement. Certainly there are people who are using it for their own personal devices, but there’s 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…And I think you do the whole movement a disservice by characterizing it the way you have.”

Robbins said he didn’t want to be misinterpreted, and invited McCool to join him at the center of the room. He then asked her to hold out her fist. When she did, he put his hand on her fist and pushed her backwards.

“So you’re telling me the the harder I push, the more you’re gonna comply, and I’m going to be safe,” Robbins said as he pushed McCool backwards. After a little back and forth banter between Robbins and the woman, he stopped and said, “When you push someone else, it doesn’t make you more safe. It just makes them angry.”

During the 11-minute exchange, he also brought up Hollywood. That’s where, Robbins said, pressure from the #MeToo movement is “the most intense,” adding “it breaks my heart for women and not for men.” He then shared the story of a “very powerful man” who told Robbins he’d passed over a highly qualified woman for a job because she was “very attractive” and therefore “too big a risk.”

(You can hear Robbins’ comments in full on YouTube, here.)

McCool has since given interviews about her exchange with Robbins. As she told The Good Men Project, she wishes he’d “take the time to listen to women who don’t agree with you because that’s how you learn, that’s how you grow.” She went on to note that while she doesn’t believe he owes her an apology, she’d like to see him reassess his views of #MeToo.

But on Saturday, in response to the condensed edit from Now This News, Burke jumped in to call Robbins out on Twitter, noting that his “people” had contacted her to “do damage control” and to provide “context.”

“I don’t need any [context]. I have eyes. The full video is 11 mins. And it’s gross. Bravo to this woman.”

Since then, other celebrities have weighed in, including Alyssa Milano, who called his words “appalling,” and Kathy Griffin, who said she’s “furious.”

Mashable has reached out to a representative for Robbins for comment. We will update should we hear back.

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Anith Gopal
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