Employees reportedly complained of working in a fearful, toxic environment.
The last time a story of a toxic workplace environment involving a talk show went viral, Ellen DeGeneres was viewed as a pariah and there was an announcement that her series was being canceled. However, Dr. Phil doesn’t believe that the allegations made against him will hold any weight, as seen by his lawyer’s response to those who have complained about what reportedly has been going on behind the scenes of his long-running show.
Buzzfeed reportedly shared a story where they spoke with a dozen or so employees, past and present, of the Dr. Phil show who claimed they have dealt with racism, intimidation, and verbal abuse. Dr. Phil’s attorney, Patrick Morris, told Variety that it was nothing more than a “clickbait story.”
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“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.”
“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 employee told BuzzFeed News. “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.”
Meanwhile, ViacomCBS has also issued a statement where it insists that creating a safe and inclusive workplace is a priority for Dr. Phil.
“We provide multiple avenues through which employees can report complaints to the company both on the record and anonymously,” the spokesperson said. “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.”