Current and former staffers who worked on the Dr. Phil show have accused the daytime series of being a toxic workplace environment in a shocking new report.
The individuals spoke to BuzzFeed News, alleging they were subjected to verbal abuse working on the series, saying that “that fosters fear, intimidation, and racism.”
The report alleges that guests on the show are “manipulated and treated unethically.”
One of the individuals who spoke to BuzzFeed News alleged that they were tasked with ensuring their guest hadn’t taken her medication before an appearance on the show.
“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,” the former employee told BuzzFeed.
“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.”
Employees of the show were also allegedly “encouraged to manipulate and convince [guests] of whatever they needed to hear in order to secure the booking” and were “discouraged from booking people of color,” according to the outlet.
In response to the article, Patrick Morris, Phil McGraw’s personal attorney, is hitting back at the allegations.
“It is a clickbait story, because as everyone knows, Dr. Phil sells tickets,” Morris said in a statement to Variety.
“BuzzFeed was offered dozens of current and former staff members to talk to but when BuzzFeed started hearing the truth, which ruined their salacious narrative, they declined.”
“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 uses ethnic origin such as described.”
ViacomCBS, meanwhile, told Variety that creating safe and inclusive working environments is a top priority.”
“We provide multiple avenues through which employees can report complaints to the company both on the record and anonymously,” the ViacomCBS spokesperson said to the outlet.
“We encourage any employee who believes that they or others within the company have been treated unfairly to report it without a fear of retaliation. We take seriously all such reports.”
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.