Dr. Phil Under Fire for Sexual Assault Tweet
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Talk show host, Dr. Phil McGraw, has been criticized for a Tweet he posted asking whether it was "OK" to have sex with a girl when she’s intoxicated, Salon reported.
Although the controversial tweet has since been deleted, it was published online long enough to enrage twitter users who responded angrily in the trending topic #DrPhilQuestions.
A spokesperson for the Dr. Phil Show responded saying the tweet was intended to evoke discussion leading into a serious show topic on the subject:
“It was not intended to be taken lightly. It's based upon a recent news story, hence the #teensaccused label,” he told Buzzfeed.
However, many viewed the question in bad taste as an excuse for “ rationalizing rape”. Others thought McGraw was asking his followers for personal advice about a situation he himself was facing, rather than as a potential topic for an upcoming show.
The Tweet prompted the creation of the Change.org petition started by a former college sexual assault activist, Carmen Ross, who created the petition to encourage supporters to call on Dr. Phil to host a show to educate his viewers on sexual assault prevention:
“There is no question, Dr Phil: rape is rape. I am asking Dr. Phil to produce a show that shines a light on survivors of rape and sexual assault and begin a national conversation about the specifics of consent – which includes not raping people while they are drunk or otherwise unable to consent […] to discuss how we as a society can make sure tragedies like Steubenville never happen again,” she wrote, as HuffPost reported.
The comments of Dr. Phil highlight the increasing role that social media plays in perpetrating rape culture already heavily embedded in our society.