Television’s Dr Phil has been under criticism for years, the first one being that he’s not even a doctor of any kind. He does have a PhD in Psychology but is not a licensed or practising psychologist. What he is a television host that wants to make the best show he can and get ratings.
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This is where the situation gets a bit murky as actress Shelly Duvall, famous for playing the tortured wife in The Shining with Jack Nicholson and playing Olive Oil opposite the late Robin Williams in Popeye, is suffering from severe mental illness. Dr Phil, real name Phil McGraw, had created big controversy for what people feel like is exploiting Duvall when he interviewed her in a one-hour special.
Many were even calling for a boycott, but the episode aired unopposed. The actress appeared visibly unwell and spoke on many topics, but many of them didn’t make much sense. Including claiming that Robin Williams isn’t dead but a shape shifter that she has seen recently.
McGraw claims that he was there to help Duvall and even said to her “We’ll make a deal that you’ll get checked out, and I’ll make a deal that they won’t murder you”. At the conclusion of the show, he stated that Duvall refused treatment and returned to her home.
Vivian Kubrick, whose father Stanley directed, and mentally tormented, Duvall on the set of The Shining was the strongest voice of criticism. In a statement, Kubrick said, “You are putting Shelley Duvall ‘on show’ while she is suffering from a pitiable state of ill health. Unquestionably, this is purely a form of lurid and exploitive entertainment — it’s appallingly cruel … I recoil in complete disgust. I hope others will join me in boycotting your utterly heartless form of entertainment because it has nothing to do with compassionate healing.”
How do you feel about what Dr Phil did? Did you watch the episode? Do you think he was trying to help or exploiting her?