Previous Guests Claim ‘Dr. Phil’ Exploits Substance Addiction

Previous guests have come forward to describe their questionable experiences with the show.

By WKBW on December 29, 2017
(Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images)

Controversy has surrounded the true intentions of Philip McGraw, a former clinical psychologist since his Texas license expired in 2006, famously known as Dr. Phil from his eponymous daytime talk show. Previous guests on his show that came on to talk about their struggles with drug and alcohol addiction have come forward to reveal that they were encouraged to take substances before taping.

Todd Herzog, who was a minor celebrity for winning Survivor, has been on Dr. Phil four times. He came on the show to talk about his severe alcoholism. When he appeared on the show for the first time in 2013, he came out so intoxicated that he had to be carried on stage and placed into his seat.

Herzog came forward to STAT and Boston Globe to talk about what happened before that taping in his dressing room. He claims that staffers placed a bottle of vodka in his room and gave him Xanax to “calm his nerves.” He drank the whole bottle and took the tab before going on the show, where he blew a .263 in a breathalyzer in front of the studio audience.

McGraw wrote in a statement that Herzog’s claims of being provided a bottle of vodka is “absolutely, unequivocally untrue.”

There were also a couple of guests who struggled with drug addiction who were taken to Skid Row by staffers. Kaitlin King-Parrish, who went on Dr. Phil to talk about her heroin addiction, was six months pregnant at the time of the taping. A staffer met her and her mom and took a cab to Skid Row, where King-Parrish was filmed asking the homeless for drugs. The footage aired.

When asked if Dr. Phil has any responsibility to monitor the guests, Martin Greenberg, the show’s director of professional affairs and a psychologist, said, “No, of course not, it’s a television show.”

Dr. Phil released a statement following the articles by STAT and Globe, which said that Herzog was “medically supervised the entire time he was involved with tapings of Dr. Phil… 100% of the time.” Later, however, Greenberg revised the statement through a lawyer to to say, “We mean 100% of guests agreeing to treatment,” he said. “It does not mean that a guest is being monitored 100% of the time.”

After his fourth time on the show, Herzog received treatment and is now sober. King-Parrish is reportedly homeless. Her mother has said that heroin is “probably going to be Kaitlin’s end.”

According to Forbes, McGraw made $79 million last year.

Read the whole story here.

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