Dr. Phil Walks Back Controversial Remarks Amid Furor: I Gave ‘Bad Examples’ and Used Wrong Statistics


Reality television star Dr. Phil McGraw responded on Friday to the controversy surrounding a guest appearance he made on Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle the night before, during which he argued for reopening the country and cited death numbers from smoking and accidents.

“I wanna say, I don’t mean that we need to just run back out there and start pretending that nothing has ever happened. I don’t mean that all,” McGraw clarified in a livestream. “I have also said dozens of times that Robin and I 100 percent support the CDC guidelines of quarantine and have been following them: sheltering at home and maintaining social distancing guidelines.”

“I have said 100 percent I support that we shut the country down to protect what is perhaps a small percentage of those for whom this virus is most dangerous,” he continued.

McGraw then said, “Last night I said we as a society have chosen to live with certain controllable deadly risks every day: smoking, autocrashes, swimming. And yes, I know that those are not contagious, so probably bad examples.”

“I probably could have used better examples about that, and by the way, I misspoke about drowning deaths. I quoted a worldwide number, not a US number,” he declared, before advising viewers to “listen to your state governors, as I’m going to do — that you abide by their rules to stay at home until we are all happily united healthily and back with our loved ones, families, friends, and co-workers and can return to lives as we knew it, but even better and stronger.”

Dr. Phil also, however, highlighted the short and long-term mental health problems which will rapidly increase under current lockdown measures, noting, “I don’t want to ignore the fact that if we stayed locked down, that we need to pay attention to the fact that depression sets in, loneliness sets in, and that begins to erode our mental and our physical health.”

“And if in fact it turns out that we’re going to have to be locked down for a long period of time, we need to really garner resources to help people with that. To give them the coping strategies they need, the help they need, the support they need,” he explained, adding, “If this creates PTSD, it can show up three years from now, two years from now, one year from now. I don’t want to neglect that.”

“If I offended people’s sensibilities last night with my examples, then erase those,” he concluded. “And just hear my message.”

Watch above via Dr. Phil.

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