Anyone who has ever watched the Dr. Phil show knows that the “Dr.” in the name Dr. Phil McGraw feels less like a medical title and more like an abbreviation for Driventoexploitpeople. Well, the Dr. Phil show might be doing more than just profiting off people’s problems. According to an investigation published by The Boston Globe’s STAT News, the Dr. Phil show is also allegedly guilty of encouraging guests to get fucked-up before they walk on stage.
Stat spoke with several former guests of the Dr. Phil show, including former Survivor winner Todd Herzog. Todd appeared on an episode in 2013 to deal with alcoholism. He was so drunk he had to be physically carried onto the set by his family and Dr. Phil. Todd tells STAT that he wasn’t drunk when he arrived at Dr. Phil’s Los Angeles studio that day. Todd claims the greenroom he was put in contained a full bottle of vodka, which he drank all of. Todd claims that a Dr. Phil staffer then gave him a Xanax to “calm his nerves.” When an extremely messy Todd went on stage, Dr. Phil administered a breathalyzer and Todd blew more than three times the legal limit to drive.
Some former guests allege that the Dr. Phil show kept them on an unsupervised 48-hour hotel room detox before they came on the show, which in turn caused them to get a hankering for drugs. When one guest named Jordan started itching for heroin, a producer allegedly directed her to Skid Row in Los Angeles. Another guest named Kaitlin, who was six months pregnant at the time, began to detox while waiting for her episode taping. So Kaitlin, her mom, and a Dr. Phil staffer armed with a camera got in a cab and went shopping for a dealer on Skid Row. Many former guests imply Dr. Phil’s assistance is more about ratings than helping people.
STAT also investigated the possibly shadiness of Dr. Phil’s favorite rehab center, Origins Behavioral HeathCare in Texas and Florida. Origins was founded in 2009 by Dr. Phil’s graduate school mentor Frank Lawlis. Lawlis has been an advisor on the Dr. Phil show since it began back in 2002. Dr. Phil sends many of the shows addicts to Origins. The show doesn’t believe that Dr. Phil’s relationship with Frank Lawlis is a conflict of interest, and that “no money changes hands” between Dr. Phil and Origins.
The shadiness doesn’t end there. Dr. Phil and his son Jay McGraw recently launched a virtual reality rehab program called Dr. Phil’s Path to Recovery. STAT says that rehab centers that have purchased the program for monthly rates between $3,500 and $7000 have then been featured on Dr. Phil and The Doctors.
Dr. Phil had no comment for STAT. Martin Greenberg, a psychologist who serves as Dr. Phil’s director of professional affairs, did speak to STAT. He assured that guests have never been given alcohol or pointed in the direction of drugs, and added that addicts are notorious for “lying, deflecting and trivializing.” Martin also says that the Dr. Phil show didn’t have a responsibility to monitor guests because it’s not a medical facility. That’s a “no shit, Sherlock” if I ever heard one. Dr. Phil holds a doctorate in psychology, but hasn’t been a licensed psychologist since 2006 when he let his license expire.
As for the staff member that filmed pregnant Kaitlin’s trip to Skid Row, Greenberg says that staffer “simply documented the natural behavior she observed, which would have occurred whether she was there or not.”
Dr. Phil is the reason why we have the Cash Me Ousside girl. If that isn’t evidence that his soul is probably just a giant greasy claw grabbing at money and ratings, then this latest revelation should be enough. Of course the greenroom of Dr. Phil show has an open bar and all-you-can-grab Xanax. Although to be fair, the intended use might not have been to get the guests tuned up for when the cameras roll. Everyone could use probably use a swig of vodka and a Xanax to deal with the judgmental walrus in a suit.
Pic: CBS Television