Staffers at Dr. Phil McGraw’s daytime television show allegedly supplied drugs and alcohol to guests of the show in order to create a better on-air appearance and boost ratings.
The accusations against the members of the TV psychiatrist’s staff have come from multiple guests and were revealed in an exposé published on Thursday by the health website STAT and the Boston Globe, according to Entertainment Tonight.
One guest, Todd Herzog, claimed he arrived at the “Dr. Phil Show” studio in 2013 to find a bottle of vodka in his dressing room and was given a Xanax to “calm his nerves.” Herzog had struggled with alcohol abuse since winning “Survivor” in 2007 but claimed he was sober when he arrived on the “Dr Phil” set.
“I show up to the studios and I’m sober,” Herzog told STAT and the Globe. “I’m hurting a lot and I’m shaking.
“They pull me into my dressing room and there was two liters of vodka and, like, some Red Bulls and orange juice… at some point somebody gave me a Xanax.”
Herzog knew the combination could have been deadly.
“So I had been drinking and I took a Xanax, which I had never taken before in my life, and I know that can be a deadly combination so why that was given to me I don’t know,” he said. “Next thing you know, I’m being carried on to the stage because I can barely walk.
“What would have happened if I had died there?” he asked.
Family members of other guests had similar accusations. One woman, Joelle King-Parrish, claimed a staffer accompanied her daughter before appearing on the show last year in order to purchase heroin, while Marianne Smith alleged a producer on the show helped her niece get heroin.
Though Dr. Phil declined to comment on the report, the show’s Director of Professional Affairs called the allegations “absolutely, unequivocally untrue.”
“We do not do that with this guest or any other,” Martin Greenberg said, according to Entertainment Tonight.
“Addicts are notorious for lying, deflecting and trivializing. But, if they are at risk when they arrive, then they were at risk before they arrived. The only change is they are one step closer to getting help, typically help they could not have even come close to affording,” he added in a statement.
Herzog, who appeared on the show for the fourth time in 2016, wrote a letter to Dr. Phil, thanking him.
“I’m grateful in a lot of ways for the show. For getting me help in the nicest places in the country. That’s a gift right there,” he said. “There are some things about the show that I don’t like, and that I don’t think are real… I should have been in the hospital, in that sense. There should not be liters of vodka in my dressing room.”
Other guests also had praise for the show and the help it provided them in their struggles.
“Few people contact us just to let us know how well things are going,” the show said in a statement to STAT and The Globe. “The fact you can ‘cherry pick’ three, or thirty, or three hundred guests for that matter, who seek to blame others for their plight or struggle in life, is not the least bit surprising.”
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