Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rep. Murphy Criticizes Dr. Phil Psychologist Calls Interview with Mentally Ill Actress'appalling'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rep. Murphy Criticizes Dr. Phil Psychologist Calls Interview with Mentally Ill Actress'appalling'

Article excerpt

U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy is adding his voice to the chorus of criticism of Dr. Phil, who interviewed actress Shelley Duvall about getting treatment for her mental illness, which was on full display throughout a Nov. 18 broadcast of his CBS television afternoon show.

Mia Farrow and Vivian Kubrick, the daughter of Stanley Kubrick, who directed Ms. Duvall in the 1980 movie "The Shining," have called for a boycott of Phil McGraw's show and described his actions as predatory and exploitative for showing a woman in the full throes of mental illness, regardless of his offers to help her get treatment.

During the interview, she said she was very sick and needed help, with moments of clarity about her career. But she also expressed fear that people purporting to help her actually will hurt her, adding that "the man who threatens me is the sheriff of Nottingham." She also said she didn't think the late Robin Williams, her co-star in the 1980 movie "Popeye," is dead but is "shape-shifting."

Reacting to the controversy, Mr. Murphy, a Republican congressman from Upper St. Clair, said in a statement that he was "astounded that this was broadcast under the banner of entertainment."

"It reflects a woman in need of psychiatric medical care who lacked the basic executive functioning to understand the implications of her 'consent'" to be interviewed, he said in a statement. "This should not have been pursued nor aired. Clearly she was not capable of consenting to this television experience due to her diminished cognitive capacity.

"Ms. Duvall has a basic right to privacy and the way in which she was exploited for afternoon entertainment is appalling," he said.

During the broadcast, Dr. Phil offered to pay for treatment for Ms. Duvall and escorted her to a treatment center, where she ultimately declined treatment. The 67-year-old actor from Houston starred in numerous television shows and 35 movies from 1970 through 2002; besides her leading roles in "The Shining" and "Popeye," she also had supporting roles in "Nashville" (1975) and "Annie Hall" (1977).

The media team of "Dr. Phil" did not respond Wednesday to a Post-Gazette request for comment. …

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