Motivational speaker Tony Robbins has apologized after suggesting that some women are using the #MeToo movement to gain “significance” through “victimhood,” remarks that drew severe backlash from people – including the founder of the #MeToo movement – who accused Robbins of grossly misrepresenting their intentions.

Robbins made the controversial comments last month in San Jose, California, where he was hosting one of his multiday self-help seminars called “Unleash the Power Within.” There, in an arena filled with thousands of participants, a woman named Nanine McCool took the microphone and brought up the #MeToo movement, as Now This News first reported.

“So I think you misunderstand the #MeToo movement,” McCool started. “I think- …”

Robbins interrupted her in midsentence.

“Not for you, personally. I’m not misunderstanding you,” he said, then responded with a string of slight non sequiturs. “You can educate me. I’m telling you I’ve read these. My life is about helping people . … I’ve read so many, thousands. Have you read thousands? Or are you going to tell me what your experience with the #MeToo movement is?”

He went on to say that he was “not knocking the #MeToo movement” but suggested some women were using it to play the victim for personal gratification.

“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,” Robbins told the arena. “All you’ve done is basically use a drug called significance to make yourself feel good.”

After a lengthy back and forth, McCool, who identified herself as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, said she disagreed with him.

“You are a leader and an influential man, and you are doing a disservice, in my opinion, to the #MeToo movement,” McCool told Robbins, to cheers in the audience. “Certainly there are people who are using it for their own personal devices, but there are also a significant number of people who are using it … to make it safe for the young women. ”

– From news service reports