UPDATED with response from Dr. Phil spokesperson: Three separate guests of the syndicated Dr. Phil talk show say the show enabled their use of drugs and alcohol before and during taping of segments about their addictions. The guests and their families went on the record in a report published jointly today by the online news site STAT and the Boston Globe.
The guests quoted in the piece include former Survivor winner Todd Herzog, who appeared on the show in 2013 as one of Dr. Phil‘s popular segments on addiction. Herzog, an alcoholic, said he was the subject of an intervention by show staff that brought him from his home in Utah to Los Angeles. After a two-day detox at a hotel provided by the show, he arrived at the studio taping sober, according to Herzog and his father, who confirmed his son hadn’t been drinking.
But in his dressing room Herzog found a bottle of vodka and drank it. He said “someone” handed him a Xanax, saying it would “calm his nerves.” During the taping, he blew a 0.263 (the legal limit in California is a 0.08). “
According to the mother of another woman seeking addiction help on the show in 2016, a producer took the younger woman to L.A.’s Skid Row to buy heroin. Another woman claims in the story a producer told her to go to Skid Row to buy drugs in 2012.
A spokesperson for the Dr. Phil show released the following statement to Deadline denying the article’s claims.
The Stat article does not fairly or accurately describe the methods of “Dr. Phil” 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 its commitment to continue to educate and inform the public about the worsening epidemic of addiction.
Martin Greenberg, a psychologist and Dr. Phil director of professional affairs, also denied the report, saying guests never were provided drugs or alcohol and called Herzog’s claims “absolutely, unequivocally untrue.”