Dr. Phil McGraw is known for staging hard-to-watch interventions with famous addicts live on his daytime TV show. But now, several guests -- including Survivor winner Todd Herzog -- have come forward to accuse the host of setting them up for those spectacular falls.
Herzog, the Sole Survivor from 2007's Survivor: China, is the centerpiece of a bombshell investigation by STAT News in collaboration with the Boston Globe. Herzog says McGraw sabotaged him during an appearance on a 2013 episode of Dr. Phil. The reality star, who was on the show to discuss his troubles with alcoholism, was so intoxicated that he couldn't walk on his own. But Herzog says he was sober when he arrived on set, but found a bottle of Smirnoff vodka in his dressing room.
Herzog claims to have consumed the entire bottle of vodka along with a Xanax that a Dr. Phil staffer gave him to "calm his nerves."
Though representatives from the show deny Herzog's version of events, other guests who have appeared on the show for addiction issues and were interviewed as part of the investigation told similar stories, describing producers standing by as they experienced dangerous withdrawal symptoms or abused drugs.
On Friday, a spokesperson for Dr. Phil responded to the accusations, saying, "The Stat article does not fairly or accurately describe the methods of Dr. Phil, the TV show, 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."
Read the full statement below:
The Stat article does not fairly or accurately describe the methods of Dr. Phil, the TV show, 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 it's commitment to continue to educate and inform the public about the worsening epidemic of addiction.
Dec. 29, 2017: This story was updated with Dr. Phil's statement.