Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Rural mom says 'The Dr. Phil Show' tricked, ambushed, manipulated and misrepresented her

A rural Kentucky family that was featured on "The Dr. Phil Show" told their local newspaper that they felt tricked, ambushed, manipulated and misrepresented by the producers. After the show appeared Dec. 2, Willie and Laura Essex (in photo with host Phil McGraw) told their experience to The Lebanon Enterprise, which published a story about it this week.

Laura Essex said the episode, titled "Brat-proof your child," made it appear that she often yells at her triplets when she does not. She said the producers made the yelling appear worse by increasing the audio volume on home video she made for the show; told her husband to sit in the audience after telling them that they would be on the set together; and told them to say that they asked to be on the show, though they were recruited online by a show staff member. She had other complaints, including that McGraw revised some of his comments after the Aug. 23 taping and made it appear that they were made during the taping. "I think that was unfair," Essex told the Enterprise. "We couldn't change what we said."

The story has no comment from the show's producers, or any mention of an attempt to contact them. Writer Jeff Moreland, editor of The Springfield Sun, another Landmark Community Newspapers weekly, told us in an e-mail that he "tried but got no response." The story ends with this quote from Essex: "I have nothing to hide, but I think they really made me out to be a monstrous mom. My kids are well taken care of and loved, and I don't think they portrayed any of that on the show." (Read more)

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