Dr Phil caused a scandal on Twitter by tweeting "if a girl is drunk, is it OK to have sex with her? Reply yes or no to @drphil." The talk-show doctor tweeted on Tuesday (20th August) but later deleted his post, as reported by the NY Daily News.By discussing such delicate issues in this a blunt way, Dr Phil's tweet has been misconstrued and, unsurprisingly, highly criticised. 

Dr Phil
Dr Phil outside the Ed Sullivan Theatre in New York, 2012.

A Change.org petition was quickly created requesting that Dr Phil, whose real name is Phil McGraw, apologise for his message. The petition has over 1300 supporters to date. Carmen Rios, who began the petition, stated that Dr Phil's post should not have been posed as a question at all: "there is no question Dr Phil, rape is rape." Rios continued by emphasising that "sexual contact without verbal, sober, conscious consent is rape." Rios called for the 62-year-old psychologist to apologise for his comment and for an episode of his show, regarding rape awareness, hoping such an episode "educates the public about the true definition of rape and sexual assault, as well as how to prevent it."

Dr Phil
Dr Phil at a Hollywood Walk of Fame event in 2008.

Dr Phil has already offered an apology via his representative. Speaking to the NY Daily News, the representative said "this tweet was intended to invoke discussion leading into a very serious show topic based upon a recent news story. It was a poll question, not a statement or a joke. This was a research post in preparation for a show, not a personal post and Dr Phil deleted it the second he saw it." 

On the latter point it is unclear who has access to Dr Phil's account, with the exception of the talk show host himself. It has been suggested the tweet was posted by an intern or a member of the PR team which manages his account. The psychologist's representative continued with the apology stating "we sincerely apologise that it suggested anything other than what was intended, data gathering. As you can imagine, Dr Phil is very upset that this happened."

Dr Phil
Dr Phil outside the Ed Sullivan Theatre in New York, 2012.