Tony Robbins Accused of Sexually Assaulting Teenager in 1985

Robbins was 25 at the time

Tony Robbins
Motivational speaker Tony Robbins has been accused of sexually assaulting a high school student in 1985
Brian Solis/Creative Commons

Updated 12:30 p.m.

Throughout the last year, BuzzFeed News has investigated numerous allegations of motivational speaker Tony Robbins abusing his position, including charges that he sexually harassed several women. The news that has emerged since then has only gotten worse; this week brought with it accusations that Robbins sexually assaulted a high school student in 1985.

The new report is the sixth installment in a series that Katie J.M. Baker and Jane Bradley began publishing in May. Robbins was 25 at the time of the events recounted, and was already making a name for himself as a motivational speaker. One of the witnesses of the event “recalled seeing Robbins towering over the slight figure of a female camper, pinning her arms back as he kissed her forcefully.”

As for the woman Robbins assaulted, Baker and Bradley write that “she was under 18 — legally a minor in California — at the time of the events described.”

This took place at SuperCamp, located in Southern California. Baker and Bradley write that several of the witnesses to the event came forward as a result of their ongoing investigation of Robbins. “Reporters then contacted other former campers and staffers — dozens of whom independently recalled hearing about it,” they write. “Many also remembered a heavily sexualized seminar delivered by Robbins to campers as young as 13.”

Robbins did not return to SuperCamp after that summer, but Baker and Bradley’s article notes that many of the campers were traumatized due to his actions.

Jennifer Connelly, a spokesperson for Robbins, responded to the accusations with a post titled “Tony Robbins is Now Suing the Tabloid BuzzFeed” on Medium on Friday.

“Tony Robbins is now suing BuzzFeed after their yearlong campaign attacking him personally, his businesses and charitable initiatives,” she wrote. “Mr. Robbins denies BuzzFeed’s latest allegations. Consistent with Mr. Robbins’ denial, the camp’s current and former owners and others present informed us that they recall the alleged 34-year-old incident and completely reject the accuracy of Buzzfeed’s account.”

Robbins himself also published a post on Medium yesterday, questioning the reporting standards at BuzzFeed and the digital-media landscape at large: “Today, when anyone can spread gossip and false information without consequence, and online and entertainment media companies disguise themselves as ‘news organizations’, we must ask a fundamental question: Who is watching the watchdogs?”

BuzzFeed News was founded in 2011 and has won numerous awards for its investigative reporting; the BuzzFeed News staff were also nominated for Pulitzer Prizes in International Reporting in 2017 and 2018, and the organization is a member of the White House press corps.

Baker’s investigative reporting for the site has previously led to legislative and legal action against the subjects reported on; in October 2015, a high-school teacher named Joseph Koetters pleaded guilty to sexually abusing two former students after Baker had broken the story a year earlier.

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