Motivational speaker Tony Robbins has come under scrutiny after 21 people attempting a hot-coal walk were badly burned. All were participating in a four-day "Unleash the Power Within" motivational seminar at the time when they attempted to walk on the hot coals.
"In the news, it was talking about how twenty something people got hurt, and those are the people who were having the paramedics apply ointment to their feet," Kim, a participant at the Robbins' seminar, told Gawker. "They were more seriously burned, but definitely over 20 people got hurt. The event organizers really minimized it, and it made me uncomfortable."
Kim did not participate in the coal walk but watched as person after person attempted to walk across the flaming-hot coals. Several persons were treated for second and third-degree burns on their feet, and at least three were taken to the hospital for further treatment.
The coal walk was meant to provide participants the opportunity to "get your focus and attention away from that [the danger] and look into the power within yourself," explained Sahar Madani.
Robbins' organization has issued a statement concerning the burns.
"We have been safely providing this experience for more than three decades and always under the supervision of medical personnel." Robbins' staff has said they will look into making the event safer for those interested in participating.
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The incident has not deterred people from following Robbins and believing in his messages of inspiration.
"His seminars are really good," Kim told Gawker. "I understand why he inspires a lot of people, but to be completely honest- you know that episode of 'Oprah' where Tom Cruise is jumping on the couch? It's almost like that. He kind of gives off that vibe."
"It transformed people's lives in a single night," Carolynn Graves told The New York Times. "It's a metaphor for facing your fears and accomplishing your goals," she explained. Graves was one of the few who crossed over the coals without any injury.