"If a girl is drunk, is it okay to have sex with her? Reply yes or no" Dr. Phil said in Tuesday tweet intended to incite interest in an upcoming episode of his daytime talk show.
If the 62-year-old pop therapist's intention was to spark a conversation about rape culture, he succeeded. Twitter users immediately bombarded his account with outrage.
The show tried to explain themselves in a statement, calling the "ill-advised" tweet "a poll question, not a statement or a joke."
This Tweet was intended to evoke discussion leading into a very serious show topic based upon a recent news story, hence the #teensaccused label. It was a poll question, not a statement or a joke. As he has maintained over many years, Dr. Phil believes that the position of those incapacitated in any fashion; be it drugs, alcohol, age or mental illness can not and do not have the capacity to give their consent to anything, especially sex, which could have life changing repercussions. This was a research post in preparation for a show, not a personal post and Dr. Phil deleted it the second he saw it. It was clearly ill-advised. We sincerely apologize that it suggested anything other than what was intended, data gathering. As you can imagine, Dr. Phil is very upset that this happened.
Of course, the controversy perfectly lent itself to a mocking Twitter hashtag -- #DrPhilQuestions.
If a woman has an opinion that differs from yours, should you assume she has her period? #drphilquestions— shannonwoodward (@shannonwoodward) August 21, 2013
If a man is drunk, is it okay to empty his wallet and take his kidneys? #DrPhilQuestions— Cathy (@66Betty) August 20, 2013
Is it okay to exploit people's emotional issues in public under the guise of helping them? #DrPhilQuestions— Jarrah Hodge (@jarrahpenguin) August 20, 2013