A new report is accusing Dr. Phil of supplying drugs and alcohol to his TV show guests who struggle with addiction. Publications, Stat and The Boston Globe revealed shocking examples in an investigative piece on Thursday (Dec. 28).
Todd Herzog, winner of “Survivor: China,” reportedly appeared on The Dr. Phil Show in 2013 to discuss his struggle with alcoholism, according to reports. Upon his TV appearance however, Herzog stated that he found a liter of Smirnoff vodka in his dressing room. He also alleged that a staffer handed him a Xanax pill to “calm his nerves.” Herzog reportedly consumed both the alcohol and prescription drug before taping the episodes.
As a result of his intoxication, Herzog reportedly had to be assisted onstage. During the taping, Dr. Phil also made the comment that he had “never talked to a guest who was closer to death.”
Additionally, a family member of an unnamed guest told reporters that their relative purchased heroin “with the knowledge and support of show staff” prior to the show’s taping.
The report also suggests that the alleged actions were done in search of high ratings. While the report notes that this makes for “riveting” television, it said the guests were placed in dangerous and possibly fatal conditions.
Dr. Phil has not responded to the allegations. But Martin Greenberg, a psychologist who works for him, denied the claims. In a statement provided to Stat and the Globe, he said that “addicts are notorious for lying, deflecting and trivializing.” “If they are at risk when they arrive, then they were at risk before they arrived,” the statement continued. “The only change is they are one step closer to getting help, typically help they could not have even come close to affording.”
Dr. Phil, whose show has been on-air since 2002, has been known for referring many of his guests to treatment facilities. According to the report however, the talk-show host has a mutually beneficial business relationship with the treatment centers, which could have contributed to the alleged abuse.
Over the course of his television career, Dr. Phil has faced a lot of backlash and lawsuits regarding his approach to mental health and addiction. The National Alliance on Mental Illness once said his approaches were “serious enough to warrant investigation by a relevant board of licensure,” following a 2004 segment.
This story is still developing.