Even though he’s one of Oprah’s Annointed, Dr. Oz always rubbed us the wrong way. Maybe it’s his fresh-from-the-OR look. Or how he panders to hypochondriacs while millions of Americans lack health insurance. Or maybe it’s how he never uses his first name, Mehmet. (What, too ethnic?)
But now we have a real reason to hate on him: On a recent episode, the good doctor had guests “debate” the merits of reparative therapy.
Really—on a medical show?
It’s not like this is even controversial. EVERY SINGLE reputable medical organization has discredited conversion therapy as, at best, worthless, and at worse, life-threatening. That includes the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of Social Workers.
Right now as you read this, the Southern Poverty Law Center is working on a fraud case against a reparative group in New Jersey.
But controversy is good for ratings! So Oz welcomed Julie Hamilton from the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) onto his show as an expert (gag). During the episode, conversion-therapy advocates explained how well it worked and debated guests who said otherwise.
Oz kept mum the whole time, letting the audience believe this was an issue modern medicine is currently grappling with. A joint statement from PFLAG, GLAAD and the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network chastised Oz for “provid[ing] a lengthy platform for junk science.”
Dr. Oz chose to ignore what the actual experts say, and wrongfully presented this topic to his audience as an ongoing debate, rather than as the settled matter that it is within his own medical community.
As someone who is trusted to deliver sound medical advice by his own patients and an audience of millions, his failure to do so on this topic is troubling. We ask that Dr. Oz stand with his colleagues and peers who oppose ‘reparative therapy.’
Representatives of the groups say they spoke with producers before the episode aired, but were never told agents of NARTH would be put on the air.
I felt that we needed to include all parties who have considered reparative therapy to hear the stories of people who have tried these treatments. Although some viewers may disagree with this tactic, if we want to reach everyone who might benefit from understanding the risks of this therapy, you have to present multiple perspectives…
After listening to both sides of the issue and after reviewing the available medical data, I agree with the established medical consensus. I have not found enough published data supporting positive results with gay reparative therapy and I have concerns about the potentially dangerous effects when the therapy fails, especially when minors are forced into treatments.
So you think this is potentially harmful, but you shared it with your audience anyway—without any kind of disclaimer?
There are people who think drilling a hole in your head will relieve stress and anxiety. Would you have them on, too?
To hear the voices of reason, check out clips from GLAAD, GLSEN and PFLAG that were posted on the Dr. Oz website