Today's episode of Dr. Phil is controversial, to say the least.
Dr. Phil is interviewing Shelley Duvall, the actress best known for playing Olive Oyl in the live-action Popeye and Wendy, the wife of Jack Torrance, Jack Nicholson's character, in The Shining. Duvall has been out of the public eye for decades, and if the promo for Dr. Phil's interview with her is any indication, her health is not good.
In the very short teaser video, Duvall claims several of what the narrator calls "unusual beliefs": she thinks that Robin Williams is still alive as a shape-shifter, that the Sheriff of Nottingham is after her and that she has a whirring disk somewhere inside her leg. She admits that she needs help, and Dr. Phil offers to be the one to give it. Um, no. Duvall clearly needs to see a real medical professional.
Even just watching the trailer leaves me with a pretty icky feeling, so it's no wonder that many have called for a boycott of Dr. Phil because his interview with Duvall looks so exploitative.
Mia Farrow's son, Ronan Farrow, took to Twitter to encourage his followers to boycott Dr. Phil's "shameful exploitation" of Duvall.
Dr Phil's exploitation of the wonderful Shelley Duvall--masquerading as "powerful TV"--is shameful. She's a treasure. She deserves respect.— Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) November 17, 2016
Interviewers sometimes must show suffering. It's our ethical responsibility to do so with compassion. Duvall appears to have been shown none— Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) November 17, 2016
When people sell exploitation it lessens all of us. When we fail to protect people at their most vulnerable it hurts all of us.— Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) November 17, 2016
Don't support the exploitation of vulnerable people. Don't watch Dr Phil.— Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) November 17, 2016
This comes just a day after Vivian Kubrick, daughter of The Shining director Stanley Kubrick, tweeted that the episode was nothing short of "lurid entertainment" and released an open letter calling for a boycott.
"You are putting Shelley Duvall 'on show' while she is suffering from a pitiable state of ill health. Unquestionably, this is purely a form of lurid and exploitative entertainment — it’s appallingly cruel," Kubrick wrote in the letter to Dr. Phil. "Shelley Duvall was a movie star... whatever dignity a mere unfortunate creature might have in this world, is denied her by your displaying her in this way. I recoil in complete disgust. I hope others will join me in boycotting your utterly heartless form of entertainment, because it has nothing to do with compassionate healing."
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