Popular Life Coach Tony Robbins Tried to Mansplain #MeToo—and Movement Founder Tarana Burke Responded

The founder of #MeToo, Tarana Burke, took to Twitter on Saturday after video of highly influential life coach Tony Robbins, in which he misrepresents the movement and its impact, went viral. The clip dates back to mid-March, when Robbins spoke in San Jose at his “Unleash the Power Within” self-help event, and Burke’s response to it is incredibly salient, given the backlash the movement still faces today. During Robbins’ speech, he told the audience that the #MeToo movement is an excuse for women to use “victimhood” to help them gain “significance”—and it gets worse from there.

“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,” Robbins says in the video.

In the 11-minute video, an audience member named Nanine McCool, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, is given a microphone to ask Robbins a question. She starts off by saying, “I think you misunderstand the #MeToo movement… ” before Robbins cuts her off. When she gets the floor back almost a full two minutes later, she explains that she feels Robbins has mischaracterized an entire movement by claiming that women are using it for their own personal gains.

The life coach, whose website says he’s “empowered more than 50 million people from 100 countries,” goes on to use McCool to make his point. He walks her backward through the aisle of the stadium by pushing against her fist, asking her why she’s resisting his push in order to make his point. Pushing against someone else doesn’t make you more safe, he explains.

Robbins then gives an example of how he sees the movement playing out in real life: He implies that women have become a liability in the workplace because of the movement. “I was just with someone the other day, very famous man, very powerful man. He’s saying how stressed he is because he interviewed three people that day—one was a woman, two were men,” Robbins explained. “The woman was better qualified, but she was very attractive, and he knew, ‘I can’t have her around, because it’s too big of a risk.’ And he hired somebody else. I’ve had a dozen men tell me this.”

If you’re shaking your head and/or fuming after reading this, you’re not alone. After seeing the video, Burke shared her thoughts in a Twitter thread that begins, “If you talk to more SURVIVORS and less sexist businessmen maybe you’ll understand what we want.”

Others shared the video of Robbins, calling him out and illustrating precisely why his spe

Watch the entire clip here:

Related Stories:
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This Is the Book That Will Begin the #MeToo Healing

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