In a joint report released Thursday, STAT News and the Boston Globe published allegations that staff members on Dr. Phil supplied alcohol and helped obtain drugs for the show’s guests prior to their interviews about their respective addictions, presumably to goose the episodes’ content. The show’s director of professional affairs, Martin Greenberg, himself a psychologist, denied the accusations, calling them “absolutely, unequivocally untrue.” On Friday, the show released a statement doubling down on their claim that the daytime talk show hosted by Phil McGraw doesn’t provide substances to interviewees. “The show does not give drugs or alcohol to its guests and any suggestions to the contrary is errant nonsense,” the statement published by Variety says in part. According to the statement, “Deception, dishonesty and denial are hallmarks of addiction. It tears families apart and certainly creates levels of complexities when we produce these important shows.”
In the STAT report, accuser Todd Herzog, winner of 2007’s Survivor: China, claims Dr. Phil staff allegedly gave him a Xanax to “calm his nerves” and stocked his dressing room with vodka, knowing that Herzog was in recovery for alcoholism and at risk for relapse. A relative of another guest, Jordan Smith, alleges a producer helped Smith with her search for heroin; the woman’s journey to L.A.’s Skid Row in pursuit of the drug was later televised as part of the show. You can read the series’s full statement denying the allegations below:
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. 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. 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.