Tony Robbins Says Sorry, Are Forced Apologies Worth Anything?

Tony Robbins

Life coach, Tony Robbins is the latest celebrity to have joined the list of privileged men who have made misguided comments on #MeToo Movement, only to apologise later. He received strong backlash for saying that women are using #MeToo to make themselves significant. Robbins said while addressing his audience during a seminar in San Jose, California said, “If you use the #MeToo movement to try to get significance and certainty by attacking and destroying someone else, you haven’t grown an ounce. All you’ve done is basically use a drug called significance to make yourself feel good”.

This was when sexual abuse survivor, Nanine McCool stood up to him, for misunderstanding #MeToo Movement. But not the one to easily back down, Robbins defended his stance by saying, “Look at these people and see what is empowerment. Anger is not empowerment. What you are seeing is people making themselves significant by making somebody else wrong”.

Robbins also went on to share an anecdote about a very famous and powerful client, who was afraid of hiring a talented and attractive woman, because “it was too big a risk”. This incident has once again proved that most celebrities apologise for making shallow remarks just out of fear of criticism.

We do not stand to gain anything from their “sorry”, as it stems more from fear than remorse.

Robbins’ comments sparked an outrage on social media. #MeToo activist Tarana Burke criticised Robbins in a series of Tweets and called this moment damaging, especially considering his popularity.

The outraged worked its way, and Robbins issued an apology on Facebook, for his comments last night.


His apology doesn’t feel genuine and heartfelt, considering that he was forced into it due to the social media backlash. Which is why celebrity apologies are as problematic as their misguided statements. It makes us question whether they have learned anything from the backlash.

While Robbins claims that he still has much to learn, should this desire to correct behaviour stem only from threat to personal and professional image?

We want change in mindset instead of hollow apologies

Celebrities like Robbins have proved in the last few months, how rich, entitled millionaires still sympathise with their fallen comrades. Recently, Sean Penn called #MeToo a ‘toddler’s crusade’. Now a life coach followed by millions of people defended entitled millionaires, because the poor souls cannot hire attractive women now, as it was too big a risk. Guess what Mr Robbins, having to go to work under men who cannot keep their flaps zipped is too big a risk. Who is wrong here? An attractive woman who wants to live with dignity, as per her talent, or the brats who are now playing victims because they cannot keep their hands in their pockets?

The somebodies that Robbins defends here, are poor rich men who feel cornered in a new and more sensitive world.

The new code of conduct is too baffling for their brains, which are filled to brim with sexism and misogyny. For these people #MeToo is a crusade of agitated women, who are witch-hunting men whose actions are as harmless as a little puppy trying to snatch a treat from its master. And when they face outrage over statements which reek of misogyny, they backtrack and claim of being “committed to being part of the solution”.

A phrase, I heard many celebs like Robbins use, without understanding what it means. It’s a chocolate dip to cover their apology; a promise which would shield them from further criticism and hence protect their image. It shows no personal growth or empathy. Such forced apologies are useless if there is no change in minds and attitudes. They are hollowed out of any sincerity and a promise of self-assessment. If Robbins and his “somebodies” really want to be part of the solution, then they need to change their mentality. They should stop defending sexual predators who claim to be victims of a change too strong for their weak self-discipline.

Also Read : #MeToo Has Staying Power: Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are author’s own.