An Open Letter to BuzzFeed Editors and Board of Directors from Tony Robbins
This letter is one that I would have preferred not to write.
I have been the target of a year-long investigation by BuzzFeed. Unfortunately, your organization has made it clear to my team that you intend to move forward with publishing an inaccurate, agenda-driven version of the past, pierced with falsehoods. It is intended to disparage me personally, my family, my life’s work, and the efforts of the millions of individuals around the globe who have taken this journey with me over the last 40-plus years.
Please see this video with one person’s account of how your reporters so eagerly tossed her truth aside: https://youtu.be/xJ3kWMBJE5Y
To put it in the words of your own reporters, you are preparing to publish an article with the malicious intent to “take Tony Robbins down.”
You have denied my team’s requests to meet with you in-person to present key evidence that contradicts your false allegations. You do not seek the truth; you seek to further your own agenda.
After more than a year-long investigation by your online entertainment company, you allege that approximately 20–30 years ago — when I was in my 20’s and early 30’s — I was negligent with both my employees and individuals who chose to attend my seminars. You also allege (through anonymous sources) that I pursued conflicting intimate relationships. Your claims range from indistinct to ridiculous.
We have evidence to prove that your reporters rejected and otherwise ignored factual accounts from several individuals you contacted. In some cases, those individuals were even harassed and lied to when their accounts did not align with Buzzfeed’s predetermined thesis.
What stands out — even in today’s sea of mis-representation and journalistic corner-cutting — is the 2014 report by the industry-standard, non-partisan, Pew Research Center which cites Buzzfeed as “the least trusted news source” of them all. So, it stands to reason that you are presently facing financial, organizational, and management troubles. BuzzFeed is unapologetically fueling the current cultural divide by targeting well-known individuals with false allegations to boost its readership and serve its shareholders.
Let me be clear, while my open-classroom therapeutic methods are not for everyone, and while I am on my best day still only an imperfect human being, I have never behaved in the reckless, irresponsible, or malicious manner intimated by false, unfounded, and incendiary allegations suggested by BuzzFeed story-tellers.
Several individuals have contacted us to let us know that you attempted to manipulate their testimony and, in some cases, even ignored their legal counsel when they pointed out inaccuracies and mischaracterizations of their client’s personal accounts at the hands of your reporters.
Why didn’t you listen to what these individuals had to say and instead choose to proceed with inverted truths as your central narrative?
Your organization cannot claim objectivity or journalistic integrity when your written ethics and standards policy claims that in “activism” issues “there are not two sides.” As we all know, in the context of a just democracy, there are always two sides.
In my six decades on this earth, I’ve had the privilege to work with leaders like Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, presidents of countries, and international companies, not to mention millions of dedicated human beings from over 100 countries around the world. Never in my life have I witnessed a cultural climate quite like the one we’re living in today. This is an era marked by deeply-divided environments where click-bait headline news is designed to instigate a polarized public, grab their attention, and incite minds on constant-alert, waiting for the next notification to react to and believe the worst.
The foundation of what we teach in my seminars and audio programs hinges on understanding the power and impact of human belief systems, the importance of clarifying one’s values, and the constant effect that language has in shaping our emotions and our lives.
To understand how our country’s discourse has deteriorated into constant conflict, consider the world’s foremost dictionaries recent Word of the Year selections:
- In 2016 Oxford Dictionary chose: “post-truth”
- In 2017 Collins Dictionary chose: “fake news”
- In 2018 Dictionary.com chose: “mis-information”
The very heart of my life’s work is empowering others to find the TRUTH that sets them free — the honesty and authenticity to breakthrough and expand. For more than 40 years I’ve encouraged people to seek the tools of transformation to grow into the men and women they dream to be in order to live the fulfilling lives they envision for their highest self. Through the course of my career, more than 50 million people have utilized my teachings — this includes more than 4 million people who have attended live events in-person.
My record is nearly a half-century long. I stand on that.
We need to start having a different nature of conversations in a very different way. Real change is nothing but finding new patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving that meets our collective needs on a deeper level than the previous pattern. This current pattern is no longer serving our highest good. We demonize human beings for simply being human. If we learn from our mistakes we will evolve into better human beings.
Amidst all the divisiveness in the world today, I truly believe there is a yearning and a calling within all of us for a kinder way — a life of compassion, forgiveness, and a desire to live as brothers and sisters. I pray that, out of all of this, we can choose to unite rather than separate; to drop our judgments and criticisms, and look for the goodness in each other. We are all human beings doing the best we can. It’s time we come together.
Millions of people have experienced life-changing breakthroughs and transformations on our journey of growth and I invite them to join me now to stop BuzzFeed and others from tearing our society down by denying and mischaracterizing the truth. Enough is enough.
Below is a link to just one example of an individual who is frustrated by the way your reporters tried to take two minutes of seminar footage out of context in order to frame my two hours of work with her as “abusive” rather than acknowledging her direct experience and testimony to you of how it positively and profoundly changed her life.