On a recent episode of the Dr. Phil show titled Obsessed with Love Dr. Phil told the nineteen year old with such a problem that she was not insane because “insane people suck on rocks and bark at the moon” and the audience laughed. I am trying to imagine what the audience reaction would have been if the subject of his ridicule was cancer or heart disease, MS or spinal cord injury. I seriously doubt he would have even considered making fun of these very serious conditions and the audience would not have laughed. If I had a face to face encounter with Dr. Phil I would tell him that he is in a position to make a positive impact on ridding our society of the paralyzing stigma associated with mental illness. I would tell him there is nothing funny about mental illness and to use it to get a laugh is not only a cheap shot but also wrong on every possible level. I am appalled that Paula Deen’s use of the N word created instant and wide spread outrage but to this point only a few of us have expressed our outrage at Dr. Phil’s remarks ridiculing the mentally ill. Why is that? Many of our celebrities with the highest profiles spoke out eloquently and passionately about Ms. Deen’s use of the N word and her apparent racism but their voices have been ominously silent regarding Dr. Phil’s remarks about mental illness.
As if that were not enough NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams called the man responsible for the horrific enslavement and abuse of those girls in Cleveland mentally ill. Mr. Williams don’t confuse mental illness with pure unadulterated evil. Sometimes it is just evilness and not mental illness that causes unforgivable acts. My son and I know what mental illness looks like up close and personal. It is not funny nor is it evil but it is heartbreaking and deserves our respect and support not ridicule. Shame on you Dr. Phil and Brian Williams. Surely, your remarks were due to ignorance and carelessness and not deliberate.
Please go to www.peteearley.com for the complete story on these two incidents.