Dr. Phil: Drunk sex tweet was for "a very serious show topic"

The talk show host responds to backlash after he posted a tweet asking if it's OK to have sex with a drunk girl

By Prachi Gupta
August 21, 2013 9:40PM (UTC)
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Dr. Phil, America's avuncular therapist, has responded to the outcry he's facing after he posted and deleted a tweet in which he asked, "if a girl is drunk, is it okay to have sex with her? Reply yes or no. #teensaccused"

A spokesperson for Dr. Phil's show told TheWrap that "This Tweet was intended to evoke discussion leading into a very serious show topic."

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"It was not intended to be taken lightly," the spokesperson explained.

As TheWrap notes, Dr. Phil frequently uses Twitter to ask followers to send feedback for segments -- though he doesn't specify this in the above tweet:

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[embedtweet id ="367711485784375297"]

The major problem with the drunk sex tweet, however, is that it completely ignores the idea of consent, as if sex is something done to a girl by a boy who wants it. It comes off as glib and dismissive, asking for only a "yes" or "no" response to a nuanced question that's highly suggestive of rape given the context of a woman who was recently slut-shamed, the Steubenville rape case and the popularity of the kinda-rapey "Blurred Lines" song.

A clearer question for Dr. Phil's fans would have been something along the lines of: "can drunk sex ever be consensual sex? Working on a segment. Tell us what you think," a question actually worthy of debate. Instead, the framing of his poorly worded tweet reinforces an attitude that's already so pervasive in our culture: that there's an opening for a debate on whether there's a gray area in rape. To be clear, there isn't. "No" means "no" -- period.


Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

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Dr. Phil Drunk Sex Rape Twitter