I think we can all agree that Dr. Phil has done some really questionable, arguably unethical, shows with average people and celebrities, although we mostly notice the celebrities. He recently interviewed JonBenet Ramsey’s maniacally grinning brother, he had on Bobby Kristina Brown’s grieving addict boyfriend, Nick Brown, (who was incidentally just ordered to pay $36 million to her dad, Bobby Brown) and he regularly interviews families dealing with addiction, molestation and abuse, all while focusing on the most sensational aspects of their stories. He may have topped himself in this instance. Phil features an interview with Shelley Duvall, 67, who is clearly in the throes of addiction, mental illness or both. In the preview for the show a disheveled-looking Duvall asks for help and makes nonsense claims like believing there is a foreign object in her leg and that Robin Williams, her costar in Popeye, is still alive. In case you can’t watch the video, which you can see here, (it’s autoplay or I would embed it) here’s what was said.
Duvall: I loved Robin Williams, I don’t think he’s dead.
Dr. Phil: Where do you think he is?
Duvall: Shape shifting.
Dr. Phil: Do you see him?
Duvall: Have yes. [Other scenes] The man who is threatening me is the Sheriff of Nottingham. I think there’s a whirring disc inside me [Shows leg]
Duvall: I’m very sick, I need help.
Dr. Phil: Well that’s why I’m here.
That’s not why Dr. Phil is there. Of course he will get her help though – after he milks this interview for every bit of publicity he can get. Duvall might be helped with an email chain reaching out to her old colleagues and friends like Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Paul Simon and Carrie Fisher. Someone could raise enough money to foot the cost of psychiatric inpatient treatment if Duvall could be convinced to go. Plus she probably has SAG health insurance which I’ve heard is very good. Instead Dr. Phil decided to air this which is pretty despicable. How much do you want to bet that he stretches it out into at least two episodes?
The daughter of the late director Stanley Kubrick, who directed Duvall in The Shining, has written an open letter to Dr. Phil urging people to boycott this show and calling it “appallingly cruel”:
— Vivian Kubrick (@ViKu1111) November 17, 2016
Yes I agree. If you’d like to know more about Duvall, The Telegraph has a comprehensive article on her relationships and her career including her mistreatment by Kubrick on the set of The Shining and the live action children’s television show she produced and starred in during the 80s called Faerie Tale Theater. She deserves better than to have Dr. Phil showcasing her illness on TV.