Dr. Phil’s Disappearing Rape Tweet

Outrage after TV therapist asks Twitter followers if date rape is justified

  • Share
  • Read Later

First you see it, now you don’t. Dr. Phil—or whoever manages the TV therapist’s Twitter account—quickly deleted a controversial tweet this week, which said “If a girl is drunk, is it okay to have sex with her? Reply yes or no to @drphil #teenaccused.”

The tweet was deleted after outrage Tuesday over what appeared to be a trivialization of date rape. Responses ranged from serious attacks on Dr. Phil’s credibility to jokes at his expense. Comedians and feminist bloggers had a field day. Comedian Rob Delaney tweeted:

Eve Vawter, associate editor at Mommyish.com tweeted:


And BuzzFeed editor Michael Rusch tweeted:

Carmen Rios, an anti-rape activist, started a change.org petition demanding that the TV self-help guru apologize. “Sexual contact without verbal, sober, conscious consent is rape,” she said in her petition, “and yet, this respected television doctor is questioning whether sex with a person who is incapacitated is rape at all.”

Dr. Phil’s team attempted to explain that the tweet was intended to generate discussion about date rape, not provide room for justification. Stacey Luchs, a spokeswoman for Dr. Phil, said in an email to CBC News that “This tweet was intended to evoke discussion leading into a very serious show topic based upon a recent news story, hence the #teensaccused label.”

Luchs said the tweet was linked to an upcoming show featuring the mother of Rehtaeh Parsons, the Nova Scotia teen who killed herself in April after a two-year ordeal involving date rape and cyber-bullying.