Daytime host Phil McGraw, also known as Dr. Phil, has responded to a Boston Globe report claiming that staffers on his show aided guests with addiction problems acquire drugs and alcohol in an effort to drive onscreen drama.
An investigation conducted by the Boston Globe and the website Stat found multiple claimed incidents in which the show put the guests in jeopardy.
“The Stat article does not fairly or accurately describe the methods of ‘Dr. Phil,’ the TV show, or its mission to educate millions of viewers about drug and alcohol addiction,” a “Dr. Phil” spokesperson said Friday. “The show does not give drugs or alcohol to its guests and any suggestions to the contrary is errant nonsense.”
“For the past 16 years, the Dr. Phil show has provided valuable information to viewers by telling compelling stories about people who are fighting the battle to overcome alcohol and drug addiction,” the statement read. “Unfortunately, addicts often lash out at the very people who are trying the hardest to help them break the cycle of addiction. Although terribly unfortunate, this is an understandable part of the behavior of addicts on their journey to recovery. Deception, dishonesty and denial are hallmarks of addiction. It tears families apart and certainly creates levels of complexities when we produce these important shows. None of this will deter the Dr. Phil show from it’s commitment to continue to educate and inform the public about the worsening epidemic of addiction.”
Todd Herzog, a former “Survivor” winner who appeared on the show in 2013 to discuss his addiction problems, said that when he arrived on set in 2013, he found a bottle of vodka in his dressing room and a bottle of Xanax to “calm his nerves.” Herzog had to be carried on set before his sit-down with Dr. Phil, and registered a .263 blood alcohol level, which is over three times the legal limit.
Furthermore, family members of two other guests claimed their health and welfare was put at risk by Dr. Phil staffers who encouraged their relatives to go to Skid Row in Los Angeles and buy heroin to help them deal with withdrawal pains.
Martin Greenberg, Director of Professional Affairs at the Dr. Phil show, said that the alleged incidents are “absolutely, unequivocally untrue.”
“We do not do that with this guest or any other,” Greenberg said when asked to address the specifics of Herzog’s account. He later released a statement saying, “Addicts are notorious for lying, deflecting and trivializing. But, if they are at risk when they arrive, then they were at risk before they arrived. The only change is they are one step closer to getting help, typically help they could not have even come close to affording.”
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