Several current and former Dr. Phil employees anonymously came forward with claims of verbal abuse, fear and intimidation by their superiors in a BuzzFeed News investigative report, which was published on Thursday, February 10.
“It’s a clickbait story because Dr. Phil ‘sells tickets.’ BuzzFeed was offered dozens of current and former staff to talk to but when the reporter started hearing the truth which ruined their salacious narrative they declined,” the 71-year-old therapist’s attorney, H. Patrick Morris, told Us Weekly via a statement on Friday, February 11. “Dr. Phil focuses on content for the program and doesn’t get involved in staff relations, but the staff at the program in no way use ethnic origin such as described.”
The Johnson & Bell, Ltd. legal professional added: “’Manipulation’ is ridiculous. These guests find a caring place, a safe place to face their challenges, even if told what they need to hear instead of what want to hear.”
While the employees noted that they never witnessed the longtime TV doctor engage in troublesome behavior himself, many claimed to BuzzFeed that senior staffers would yell and berate others for seemingly small mistakes.
Seven individuals interviewed also alleged that they were “encouraged to perpetuate racist stereotypes onscreen.”
“We were specifically instructed, ‘Make sure that she doesn’t take her medication before she goes onstage,’ because they wanted her to look unstable and quote-unquote, ‘crazy,’ for lack of a better term,” an anonymous former employee claimed. “She did take the medication because no one got there in time and I remember thinking, ‘My God, I don’t want to be the one to tell them or dissuade them from that.’ And that’s all for the sake of TV. Obviously, this girl should be on her medication and that’s what we’re trying to get her help for, but for the sake of TV they wanted her to look off the rails.”
Morris also denied the allegations of racism, noting that the show — and the CBS network — “does not tolerate racist conduct.”
“Playing the race card is the most absurd, ridiculous attention grab by this writer without one shred of evidence or even one specific claimed incident,” the attorney explained in his statement to Us. “If there was one instance of racist conduct, you would have heard of it, instead of the reporter just tossing in the sensationalized ‘r-word.'”
After building a name for himself as a TV doctor on various daytime talk shows, Dr. Phil’s eponymous series debuted in September 2002. After 20 years on the air, new episodes continue to premiere weekday mornings.