GLAAD, PFLAG and GLSEN slammed the Dr. Oz show today for its crappy episode that appeared to legitimize reparative theapy. According to their statement:
Producers of the Dr. Oz Show framed their program on so-called reparative therapy in a way that provided a lengthy platform for junk science. Dr. Oz himself never weighed in, and the audience was misled to believe that there are actual experts on both sides of this issue. There are not.
For the record, Truth Wins Out was contacted by a producer for the show. We offered to provide myself as a guest to give a broad perspective on these groups. Additionally, we offered to provide America’s top scientists who deal with sexual orientation — you know, real researchers who actually use test tubes and microscopes and actually know something about the issue. The producers arrogantly declined our assistance and the result, as I vividly warned, is that Dr. Oz is being condemned today.
If Dr. Oz claims that he wasn’t offered advice, facts, or experts he is not being truthful. This train wreck could have — and should have — been avoided.
In the 1970’s, daytime TV was helpful to the LGBT community. It gave us a rare chance to be heard — even if we were portrayed as freaks — and it helped erase the stigma that came from invisibility. Today, I have my doubts about whether we should still be participating in daytime TV. The producers on these shows seem significantly dimmer than the ones on real news shows. There is virtually no interest in exploring issues in a meaningful and intelligent, fact-based way. They do virtually no research or a shoddy minimum. The only thing these second-tier producers seem to give a shit about is ratings, even if it comes at the expense of young men and women who will harm themselves by entering “ex-gay” programs.
Dr. Oz is no homophobe, so his half-assed effort was disappointing. Truth Wins Out strongly urges him to revisit the issue in way that more closely mirrors the consensus of the medical and mental health establishment. We have confidence that he can still create a meaningful show that highlights the harm and horror caused by the “ex-gay” myth. Let us hope he learns from this experience and moves on to create better TV in the future. If not, he should give up his microphone and hair product and enter a new field.
Let’s explore this disaster:
In this segment, Oz interviews NARTH quack and extremist Christopher Doyle. Notice that no one is opposing his blatant lies about the causes of homosexuality. Dr. Oz should be ashamed for providing a platform for such outright lies. He simply allows Doyle to invent “science” that doesn’t exist.
In this segment, Oz refers to Doyle as an “expert” in this arena. This was unconscionable and conferred credibility that Doyle has not earned. When Doyle said “it works” and offered himself as living proof, why wasn’t Dr. Oz prepared with video of other “ex-gays” who were just as adamant — such as John Paulk and Michael Johnston — who later were shown to still be gay? TWO offered to help with such background material, but the producers had virtually no interest in creating an accurate show filled with historical fact. They were simply going for raw emotion, which Doyle provided. Then, Doyle trotted out his wife. Could Oz not have also had a divorced wife from the Straight Spouse Network on-stage at the same time to relay the reality of such doomed marriages?
(The “ex-gay” groups have often told producers that they would not appear if I were included. An ethical producer would tell such people to get lost — that only the producers decide who goes on. Unfortunately, many producers and hosts are unprofessional and allow “ex-gay” groups to choose their opposition, essentially stacking the deck in their favor. If this is what occurred on Dr. Oz, the producers in charge should be immediately fired for violating professional ethics and journalistic standards)
This segment purportedly delves into reparative therapy. Oz begins on an awful note by referring to the show as presenting “both sides of the debate,” although the debate has really been settled for decades in the medical and mental health communities. It is shameful and a mark of ignorance that he would frame the issue in such a biased, loaded way.
In this most infuriating of segments, Oz provides a marketing opportunity by filming a puff-piece for Journey into Manhood’s Rich Wyler to promote his $650 weekend “pray away the gay” retreats. Interestingly, he never shows the group’s cuddle room, where men pet, hold, and fondle each other in an allegedly non-sexual way. Why did they even bother making this a segment when they could have simply bought Journey into Manhood a free five minute infomercial? Doyle ends with the bizarre claim he “knew he wasn’t a gay man” which was an interesting assumption on his part considering he was sexually attracted to dudes and sought therapy to change. What he says is incoherent and illogical. But Oz never points out this glaring contradiction.
Ex-gay survivors Peter Drake and Gabriel Arana did an admirable job. They were both eloquent and articulate in describing the harm caused by reparative therapy. Unfortunately, by he time they appeared on-screen, there was just too much shit to shovel from the previous NARTH infomercial/segments. Thank you Peter and Gabriel for doing a great job representing our side. You did what you could in the paltry 3 minutes you were allotted to clean up the mess Dr. Oz left for you.
Gabriel Arana does a good job explaining how reparative therapists manufacture family trauma, which is a common practice. Peter Drake does a fine job discussing how such therapy should not be offered to children. Doyle responds by lying about what he and other reparative therapists actually do and portraying himself as mainstream, when he says, “We don’t tell clients that there is something wrong.”
This is precisely why I needed to be on the show. It was at this critical juncture that I would have been fully prepared and demolished Doyle. Here is a typical quote from Doyle in a World Net Daily op-ed, Warning to homosexual youth, It Gets Worse: “The facts reveal that even in the most gay-friendly cultures, it’s not society that is responsible for the consequences of homosexuality; it’s the behavior. It really makes one ask the question, just what about the homosexual life gets better?” Why wasn’t Dr. Oz prepared with such a quote as Montel Williams had been in a previous daytime show on this topic? Dr. Oz’s lack of preparation was beyond appalling.
Singer Clay Aiken was articulate on this issue for a celebrity and comes across as a smart guy. He makes a solid point when he says that he doesn’t think “these therapies help people love themselves.” Author Brad Lamm provides a vivid description on how these therapies often cause self-hated that can lead to people harming themselves.
In this segment, Doyle begins by attempting to be the voice of reason. He does so by flat-out dissembling about what reparative therapy actually is and what he and other NARTH therapists do. Lamm does a solid job of cutting through the bullshit and challenging Doyle. (Dr. Warren Throckmorton addresses Doyle’s lies in a post) But the problem comes back to Dr. Oz’s absolutely embarrassing lack of preparation. By not doing his homework, he allowed this to become a he said/she said situation. If he had prepared, he would have flashed actual NARTH quotes or video across the screen that would have backed Lamm. Truth Wins Out offered to assist the producers with such background research — for some bizarre reason, they refused. (Again, were they taking orders from NARTH? It has been confirmed that the producers told other LGBT advocates that I wasn’t available for the show, when I explicitly told them that I was available. They shamelessly lied to appease NARTH’s demands.)
In this segment, Dr. Oz brings out medical professionals. (Why NARTH’s Dr. Julie Hamilton is included in this description is a mystery) Hamilton begins by disingenuously claiming that she is “sorry” for the harm caused to Arana and Drake. Yet, she is a practitioner and promoter of the “ex-gay” con game. Lamm cuts off Hamilton and tells her that she is the problem, not the solution to gay youth depression and suicide. Harvard Dr. John Sharp, MD does a respectable job countering Doyle. In response, Doyle yells, “I’m living proof” that change is possible. Lamm wisely retorts that “ex-gay” history is full of people who loudly proclaimed they are “living proof” only to come out later or be scandalized. Why wasn’t Dr. Oz prepared with examples of such failed “ex-gay” leaders? Why didn’t he ask why Doyle should be trusted given that NARTH has promoted such failed leaders in the past? (George “Rent Boy” Rekers was on NARTH’s board) This was a total and complete failure on the production end of the show. It was amateur hour for Dr. Oz.
In this segment, LGBT activists (Eliza Byard, PhD, Ross Murray, Aaron McQuade) speak out against reparative therapy. They all made very salient points and made the LGBT community proud. Hamilton lies through her teeth when she claims, “reparative therapy does not tell children there is something wrong with them.”
Julie Hamilton continues to dissemble. She thinks that if a religion rejects gay people, that is a good reason to put kids in traumatizing therapy. To hell with the mental health of the LGBT youth if they have the misfortune of having anti-gay religious parents.
Here, we get treated to Dr. Oz’s “final thought” which was about as deep as a coral reef at low tide. His solution is that each side should talk to each other. I suppose we can use the same solution with flat earthers too — we can talk until we compromise: the earth is sort of round, but sort of flat, if you stand in the right spot in Kansas.
In the end, Dr. Oz failed to do any meaningful homework and enthusiastically gave a pulpit for quacks to bully gay kids. This was a professional disgrace of epic proportions and Dr. Oz should feel deeply ashamed for broadcasting this monstrosity of a show. That he distanced himself from reparative therapy in a statement released after the show was an essentially meaningless act that won’t undo the damage he caused by abusing the airwaves to promote child abuse disguised as therapy.