Bikram Choudhury, the 69-year-old hot-yoga guru who has built his name and fame over 5 decades has been accused of rape and sexual assault by six former students.
Bikram has spoken out for the first time in an exclusive interview with CNN – and says he would never have to resort to physical aggression for sex because “women love me.”
Now with the Bikram brand is in jeopardy some yoga studios are already dropping his name.
“If I really wanted to involve with the women, I don’t have to assault [them],” Choudhury said in an interview with CNN, which aired Wednesday. “I never assaulted them.”
“I don’t think they’re bad people,” he said of his accusers. “They’re influenced by lawyers.”
But Sarah Baughn and five others claim the Bikram founder – an icon to celebrities such as Madonna, George Clooney, Brooke Shields and Jennifer Aniston – indeed sexually assaulted them.
“We need to make this a relationship … I’ve known you from a past life,” Baughn said Choudhury told her during her first week of teacher training when he called her into his office. “I felt like my whole system imploded.”
Continued Baughn, who initially credited Bikram with transforming her life: “He crawled on top of me, he put his hand on the inside of my thigh … he told me he needed someone to hold him, to brush his hair … to have sex.”
Baughn, who has a trial date set for August according to The New York Times, claims Choudhury made it clear she had to sleep with him in order to advance her career, stating she would never win a yoga competition if she didn’t have sex with him.
“I pushed him off me, and I said, ‘I can do this by myself.’ And he said, ‘No you can’t.’ ”
An emotional Choudhury said the allegations have devastated his family and that his wife of 30 years will no longer “look” at him.
“We die only once in our life. I die every day,” he said. “I work harder than any human being on this earth. And this is the reward? I’m a rapist?”
Concluded Choudhury: “Shame on your Western culture. It’s your job to go and tell the world the truth.”
Choudhury is the founder of Bikram’s Yoga College of India. He’s featured prominently on its website, which details his system of performing 26 unique yoga poses while in a very hot room.