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Tony Robbins Apologizes After Tarana Burke Blasts Him For #MeToo Comments

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Life coach and motivational speaker Tony Robbins issued an apology after he received backlash from Tarana Burke for his stance on the #MeToo movement, which she started.

The controversy began when Robbins had a contentious back-and-forth with Nanine McCool, one of his supporters, at his event in San Jose, Calif. At some point, McCool stood up to criticize the 58-year-old’s previous statement that the #MeToo movement is about victimization and not empowerment.

“I’m not knocking the #MeToo movement, I’m knocking victimhood,” Robbins told McCool. “I’m not suggesting you agree with me. I’m just suggesting you consider what its impact is … Anger is not empowerment. What you’re seeing is people making themselves significant by making someone else wrong.”

“If you use the #MeToo movement to try to get significance by attacking and destroying someone else, you’re not growing an ounce,” he added. “All you’ve done is basically use a drug called ‘significance’ to make yourself feel good.”

The life coach then told a story of a man he knew that was very powerful and didn’t hire a certain woman because she was too attractive, which he was also criticized for.

Robbins had the exchange with McCool on March 15, but the backlash didn’t peak until a video of it was shared by Now This News. That’s also when Burke responded and told him why she started the movement in the first place.

“@MeTooVMT is not about victimization, it’s about survivors,” she tweeted. “Women are not to blame for the deep seeded misogyny that you and men like your ‘friend’ are mired in.” 

“If you talk to more survivors and less sexist businessmen maybe you’ll understand what we want. We want safety, we want healing, we want accountability, we want closure, we want to live a life free from shame,” added Burke. “That’s the reality of the @MeTooMVMT, sir. Do better.”

According to BuzzFeed, Robbins’ team tried to reach out to Burke for damage control, and he sent the apology afterward.

“My comments failed to reflect the respect I have for everything Tarana Burke and the #MeToo movement has achieved,” he wrote on Facebook. “I apologize for suggesting anything other than my profound admiration for the #MeToo movement. Let me clearly say, I agree with the goals of the #MeToo movement and its founding message of ’empowerment through empathy,’ which makes it a beautiful force for good.”

“Sometimes the teacher has to become the student, and it is clear that I still have much to learn,” Robbins added. “I teach that ‘life happens for you, not to you, and what I’ve realized is that while I’ve dedicated my life to working with victims of abuse all over the world, I need to get connected to the brave women of #MeToo.”

You can see the rest of his apology below, as well as some of Burke’s tweets.

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