Dr Phil’s lawyer responds after employees raise allegations of racism and toxic work environment

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While many fans probably see Phil McGraw and the work he’s done on his talk show, Dr Phil, over the past 20 seasons as the committed mental health forum it claimed to be, several of the show’s past and current employees have now alleged that their own mental health has been negatively affected while working for the program. Now that these allegations are made public, McGraw’s attorney has spoken out against reports of racism and a toxic work environment.

What did Phil McGraw’s lawyer say about the toxic work environment allegations about Dr. Phil?

Now that a dozen current and former employees of Dr Phil have come forward and spoken to BuzzFeed about the allegations that the show is a toxic workplace (similar to what happened with The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2020), McGraw’s personal attorney, Patrick Morris, responded to the claims in a statement to Variety. Morris denied the allegations and said:

It’s a clickbait story, because as everyone knows, Dr. Phil sells tickets. BuzzFeed was offered dozens of current and former staff members to talk to, but when BuzzFeed started to hear the truth, which ruined their salacious narrative, they declined. Dr. Phil focuses on program content and does not engage in staff relations, but program staff do not use ethnicity as depicted in any way.

What are the allegations against Dr. Phil?

It was not until February 10 that BuzzFeed published the testimonies of 12 people (all of whom chose to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals) who had worked, or are currently working, for Dr Phil, who noted that those who run the show supposedly use “verbal abuse in a workplace that fosters fear, bullying and racism”. Eleven of those interviewed said “their own mental health has been damaged and disrupted at the expense of working for Phil McGraw”.

Although none of the employees interviewed had seen McGraw (who also had the CBS drama he helped create, Taurus, be investigated for comparable allegations) personally engage in the alleged abusive behavior or believe they have seen it, 10 past employees and two current employees claimed that employees are frequently “yelled at and berated” by the show’s executive producer, Carla Pennington, as well as by other senior executives. posts.

Additionally, two of those who spoke out claim to have experienced racism behind the scenes, while seven employees said they were, supposedly, even pressured into ensuring racist stereotypes were kept on screen. Seven of those who spoke to the outlet also reported that guests (who are regularly on the show despite already being at risk in one way or another) are “manipulated and treated in a contrary way to ethics” (a complaint that was made before), with a former employee offering this account of how he was allegedly asked to care for a guest with mental health issues:

We were specifically asked, “Make sure she doesn’t take her meds before you go on stage,” because they wanted her to look unsteady and quote-unquote, “crazy,” for lack of a best term. She took the meds because no one came in time and I remember thinking, “God, I don’t want to be the one to tell them or talk them out of it. And that’s all for the good of TV. Obviously this girl should be on her meds and that’s why we’re trying to get her help, but for the sake of TV they wanted her to watch off the rails.

What are those behind the Dr. Phil Show saying?

McGraw’s attorney (as well as Carla Pennington’s attorney) had denied all claims to BuzzFeed at the time the report was published, but a spokesperson for Dr Phil also released a statement, which says, in part:

BuzzFeed’s “Clickbait Story” Containing Verifiable, Objectively False Characterizations and Publicly Available Conflicting Outcome Reports of These Legal Cases [including dismissal with prejudice due to a lack of merit, not even being a party and other factual errors] raises significant doubts as to the credibility of other unsubstantiated anonymous claims about the show and its staff, which are not true…Dr. Phil and our diverse and hardworking team of over 200 proud employees, many of whom have been here for two decades, sincerely and respectfully worked with thousands of grateful guests. From the beginning, show leaders have strived to create a collaborative, safe and open environment for Dr. Phil McGraw and all staff and guests.

Even though McGraw and CBS were sued in October over a teenage guest on the show alleging she was sexually assaulted in a treatment center recommended show, we don’t know at this time if any of these new reports will lead to an investigation into Dr Phil behind the scenes, or any pending legal action. It’s clear that Phil McGraw denies any wrongdoing, so time will tell what stems from these new allegations.

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