Dr Phil has responded to the wave of online rage sparked by an earlier tweet.
Dr. Phil, former protégé of Oprah and current daytime TV celebrity in his own right, has landed himself in hot water with a recent tweet. The status, reading: “If a girl is drunk, is it alright to have sex with her? #teensaccused” was posted by a staffer to Dr. Phil’s official account earlier this week. The response was swift and powerful – as it should have been and as one might expect, particularly so soon after the Seubenville case, in which a teenage girl was raped by several football players at a party, while she was intoxicated.
Someone in Dr. Phil's media team was to blame.
Responses varied from the strictly technical “@DrPhil By law when alcohol is a factor, no one can consent. Don't know what's happening to you? It's rape, period. #teensaccused” to the seriously affected: “@DrPhil The answer is No, Never you jackass. And then you kick whoever asked you in the throat. #teensaccused.” Of course, there were also a significant number of twitter users making jokes about the inappropriate question: “Dr Oz was saving lives today and Dr. Phil is trying to hook up with drunk girls where is @oprah she needs to have an emergency team meeting.”
The tweet quickly sparked the anger of many a twitter user.
The tweet, while poorly worded, was clearly intended as a sort of opinion poll and yes, probably intended to cause a bit of an uproar ahead of an upcoming episode of Dr Phil’s eponymous show. Earlier today, a spokesperson for the TV therapist, real name Phillip McGraw, released a statement. The full text is available from Deadline, but selected quotes read: “This Tweet was intended to evoke discussion leading into a very serious show topic based upon a recent news story, hence the #teensaccused label. It was a poll question, not a statement or a joke. As he has maintained over many years, Dr. Phil believes that the position of those incapacitated in any fashion; be it drugs, alcohol, age or mental illness can not and do not have the capacity to give their consent to anything, especially sex, which could have life changing repercussions.”
The good doctor was quick to apologise.
The tweet has also been deleted, reportedly by McGraw himself. While the PR cleanse has quelled the Twitter rage somewhat, angry and/or sarcastic tweets are still being sent to Dr Phil’s account.
However, there were also those stepping to the talk show host's rescue.
#teensaccused Women r overreacting. Some men do think it is OK and need to be taught that its a crime. Roofies & alcohol r not foreplay.— Mike Heuerman (@scmike1965) August 21, 2013