Tony Robbins has spent decades building a self-help empire, packing arenas full of people eager to hear the gospel he preaches. But Robbins is now accused of causing pain and suffering. At least 10 women, including several staffers, have accused him of either sexual harassment or general mistreatment, including berating them during his seminars.
The most serious allegation is that Robbins may have sexually assaulted a minor who attended one of his seminars nearly 35 years ago.
These allegations have been published in a series of stories by BuzzFeed. We speak with reporter Katie Baker, who’s been working on the series for more than a year.
“Tony Robbins is the world’s most famous self-help guru, and he has a lot of power. And I think it speaks to his power that some of these women do not see themselves as victims,” Baker says. “I think it was really hard for a lot of the women we spoke to, who really looked up to Tony Robbins. And whether they went to his seminars, or they worked for him, they did so because they believe in him. And a lot of really vulnerable people are drawn to him because of what he preaches, because he says that he can help people transform their lives. And so these women told us that it was very difficult for them when they were allegedly treated this way.”
Tony Robbins’ response to the latest allegations: Medium: Who is watching the watchdogs?
Brian G. Wolf of Lavely & Singer, the law firm representing Tony Robbins, sent a letter responding to BuzzFeed’s reporting:
This firm, together with Paul Tweed of Tweed Law (with offices in Ireland and the UK) represent Anthony Robbins. This letter responds to your emails of earlier today to my office and Mr. Tweed with respect to the potential broadcast by KCRW of an interview with the BuzzFeed reporters who have written several articles regarding Mr. Robbins.
Frankly, we are surprised to learn that KCRW would broadcast an interview with the writers of the BuzzFeed articles concerning our client. Each of the articles authored by Jane Bradley and Katie Baker which were published by online tabloid BuzzFeed regarding Mr. Robbins have been shown to be substantially false and fabricated in numerous material respects and clearly tainted by malice. Mr. Robbins vehemently denies the accusations about him published by BuzzFeed. It appears that Ms. Bradley and Baker now intend to use KCRW to further their personal malicious agenda against Mr. Robbins and gain publicity for themselves.
Prior to the publication by BuzzFeed of each of the Bradley/Baker articles regarding Mr. Robbins, my office and the Tweed law firm provided BuzzFeed with substantial fact-based evidence directly controverting many of the allegations included in the BuzzFeed articles, including providing factual statements by witnesses, video content, published content and verifiable facts demonstrating that the allegations included in the BuzzFeed articles regarding Mr. Robbins were false, incomplete, fabricated in numerous respects, contrary to the evidence, and published with a complete disregard for the truth and with evident malice. Notwithstanding having provided BuzzFeed with that substantive controverting evidence, BuzzFeed nonetheless proceeded to publish the predetermined false and sensationalized articles authored by Ms. Bradley and Baker regarding Mr. Robbins. As a result of BuzzFeed's publication of the false and defamatory articles regarding Mr. Robbins, on November 26, 2019 a legal action was commenced by Mr. Tweed on behalf of Mr. Robbins in The High Court of Dublin, Ireland for defamation and related claims.
The unfounded and highly discredited stories published by BuzzFeed authored by Ms. Bradley and Baker have progressed far beyond journalism, and amount to little more than the personal activism and animus by Ms. Bradley and Baker toward Mr. Robbins. Their intent is not to publish the facts; their intent is to further their own personal agenda to "bring down" Mr. Robbins.
We were informed by several persons contacted by Ms. Bradley and Baker that they reportedly engaged in unethical tactics, including manipulating facts, spreading false and malicious rumors regarding Mr. Robbins as if they were true, attempting to coerce sources into supporting the predetermined and malicious narrative of Ms. Bradley and Baker, and, when sources refused to support the predetermined narrative of Ms. Bradley and Baker, they reportedly threatened to include information attributable to the sources even if they denied having any knowledge supporting the accusations. One such "source" felt so threatened and harassed by Ms. Bradley and Baker that she retained an attorney to send a letter to BuzzFeed's general counsel demanding that no reference to her be included in any article published by BuzzFeed.
Another "source" relied on by BuzzFeed for information concerning Mr. Robbins has even filed a lawsuit charging her privacy rights were violated as a result of Ms. Bradley and Baker's reporting after one article alleged that Mr. Robbins had “unleashed expletive-laden tirades on survivors of rape and domestic violence", including her, during an intervention. Following publication of the article by BuzzFeed, the individual involved posted a video online explaining how BuzzFeed inaccurately portrayed her and the positive-life changing experience and impact that Mr. Robbins had on her life. Of course, just as BuzzFeed ignored the significant facts provided to it demonstrating that the articles published regarding Mr. Robbins were substantially false and incorrect, BuzzFeed likewise ignored all positive information and statements provided by "sources” and cherry-picked the content of its articles to only present a negative, fictionalized and predetermined malicious attack on Mr. Robbins
As BuzzFeed has been informed by prior correspondence from Mr. Tweed and myself, there is significant evidence establishing that Ms. Bradley and Baker have a predetermined and malicious agenda to harm Mr. Robbins and that they seek to "take him down". The evidence presented to BuzzFeed clearly shows that the conduct of Ms. Bradley and Baker is not journalism, nor do they seek to present complete or balanced fact-based truth in their articles regarding Mr. Robbins. Their intent is to harm Mr. Robbins' reputation and interfere with his charitable foundation and business relationships. Now, apparently they seek to use KCRW to further their personal agenda against Mr. Robbins and gain publicity for themselves.
In addition to the foregoing, attached for your reference are the following: (1) statement released by Mr. Robbins' publicist on November 22, 2019 concerning the BuzzFeed articles; (2) statement issued by Mr. Robbins on November 22, 2019 entitled Who is watching the watchdogs?; (3) statement released by Paul Tweed on November 26, 2019 with respect to the legal action filed by Mr. Robbins against BuzzFeed in Dublin, Ireland:
“We would confirm that defamation proceedings have been issued on behalf of our client in the High Court in relation to a number of unfounded allegations published by Buzzfeed, with the intention of undermining our client’s hard- earned international reputation.
Notwithstanding the full co-operation and extensive rebuttal evidence offered to Buzzfeed on behalf of our client and a significant number of witnesses, he has nonetheless been subjected to a persistent attack on his character over the course of a number of articles.
Our client has therefore been left with no alternative but to seek the assistance of the Courts here in Ireland and elsewhere as may be appropriate in the circumstances.”
and (4) article published by The Irish Independent on November 27, 2019 which references and clarifies the basis for Mr. Robbins filing a legal action against BuzzFeed in The High Court of Dublin.