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The woman who confronted Tony Robbins in a now-viral video is speaking out about the life coach’s apology for his remarks about the #MeToo movement.
During a March 15 seminar in San Jose, Calif., the self-help guru addressed audience members’ questions about the current climate. Last week, social video news organization NowThisthat posted a clip of Robbins criticizing some of the women who have spoken out about sexual harassment and the movement at large.
“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,” Robbins told the large crowd gathered at his self-help seminar.
In response, audience member Nanine McCool stood up and told Robbins that he “misunderstands” the entire movement and told him he is doing a “disservice” with his influential opinion.
“I was really uncomfortable with what he was saying about #MeToo,” McCool now tells ABC’s Nightline in an interview that aired Monday night. “The part that sort of pushed me out of my chair was the constant shaming of victims — I’m really tired of being shamed for having been a victim.”
As a survivor of sexual assault herself, she said she was “cringing” while listening to Robbins speak and then “triggered” when he approached her to continue the back-and-forth. Robbins had responded by telling her that he wasn’t knocking the movement, but instead was “knocking victimhood.” He then “pushed” his point and physically pushed her as well as part of an exercise he regularly employs.
“Apparently it’s something he does at a lot of his seminars, the pushing exercise, but I didn’t know where he was going with it,” she says. “I’m a tall woman, I’m 5-foot-8, he is so big and when he stepped up to me right at first and he looked down on me, I triggered. Because he looked angry.”
Robbins issued an apology Sunday after the video made the rounds. Saying his comments “failed to reflect the respect I have for everything [#MeToo creator] Tarana Burke and the #MeToo movement has achieved,” he apologized and said he agrees with the goals of the movement and is “committed” to helping educate others. “I will never stop examining my own words and actions to make sure I am staying true to those ideals,” he said in part.
McCool, said she paid nearly $3,000 to attend the three-and-a-half-day seminar and requested a refund, which was granted.
As for his apology, she told Nightline it was a “a good start,” but that she has no plans to attend any more seminars.
“I hope that this discussion that has taken off from this video — that women feel empowered by it,” she said. “I just want that to continue because that’s what the movement is about. It’s about changing the culture through, through speaking our truth and being heard.”
McCool elaborated further about Robbins’ apology during a follow-up Tuesday visit to NBC News’ Megyn Kelly Today: “I don’t understand how he can say that he has nothing but respect for the movement when he clearly doesn’t understand it. And the things that he said and messages that he, or the points he was trying to make and the interaction with me seemed to be contrary to respecting women.”
She added, “But, I am hopeful that he realizes now that he has a lot to learn. He said that and I think that is a good thing.”
Watch the full Nightlight interview below.
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