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Tony Robbins repeatedly used racial slurs and said he kissed a woman to shock her after she complained during one of his seminars in the 1980s, an unearthed video shows.
In a video, revealed by one of BuzzFeed News’ readers following an investigation into Robbins’ decades-long history of alleged sexual misconduct, the world-famous self help coach describes how he would intentionally shock his audience to get them on board with his self-help methods. It turns out that at one seminar that involved repeatedly using the n-word and kissing a woman who was unhappy with his lecture.
In the video, Robbins describes an event that he says “was one of the more intense experiences I’ve had.”
“The organization was about 60% black,” he said. “But when I say black, I mean militant black.”
One of the audience members, Robbins said, got up and asked why Robbins was only using “white examples” during his seminar. “Freedom is your issue, clearly,” Robbins responded, blaming what he called the man’s preoccupation with race for his problems.
“As long as someone calls you a nigger and gets that kind of response I’ve seen right now, where you’re ready to explode, and what you've done is given that person absolute control of you,” Robbins said. “You have no control of your life, you are still a slave.”
“You’re being enslaved by you and no one else!” he added.
The small audience laughed and gasped as Robbins danced and sang, “I’m a nigger, you’re a nigger, ooh, be a nigger.” Robbins told his audience that using the n-word appeared to shock his audience into loosening up. Black and white people alike were using the word “honky” afterward, he said, and hugging.
Robbins’ lawyers said that “any suggestion that Mr. Robbins is somehow racist or insensitive to the African-American community is absurd and false” in their response to BuzzFeed News. The video shows, they said, “a passionate discussion about racism and how to rise above it.”
And earlier in the video, Robbins tells his audience that after a woman said “This isn’t working for me” during one of his seminars, he convinced her to accept his teachings through an unwanted kiss.
“I amped her and amped her and amped her and right at the moment where I amped her, I stopped and I reached out to her and I gave her a kiss,” Robbins said. “She didn’t know how to deal with it at all.”
Robbins and his lawyers have vehemently and repeatedly denied that he ever engaged in any sort of “alleged ‘inappropriate sexual behavior’” with members of his audience, according to BuzzFeed News.
Robbins has also denied allegations by nine women who’ve accused him of sexual misconduct.
Robbins speaks openly about how he uses the shock factor of profanity and graphic descriptions of sex to rattle fans out their feeling of “being stuck.” The self-help guru has amassed millions of followers since the 1980s and built a multi-million dollar business around his books, seminars, and motivational speeches.
Cover: Tony Robbins at Shopify's annual Build a Business Competition on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, at Oheka Castle in Huntington, New York. (Brian Ach/AP Images for Shopify)