Plenty of people aren't surprised to hear that accusations are coming out about Dr. Phil. He's been slammed with lawsuits and allegations before.
But this report, the published results an an investigation by The Boston Globe and STAT, allege something very different that goes right to the heart of the "treatments" that Dr. Phil claims to provide.
Dr. Phil's show is accused of, among other things, providing addicts who are seeking treatment with the substances that they crave.
As we all know, Dr. Phil was made famous by Danielle Bregoli ... with a little help from Oprah a couple of decades earlier.
He purportedly helps people with their problems, be it behavior or substance abuse issues using the sort of folksy "wisdom" that you'd expect from a towering Texan walrus in human form.
But does his show really help people ... or does he march people out in front of the cameras, let his audience ogle that person's problems, and then make a show of setting their life on track without really helping?
Does Dr. Phil actually make things worse, endangering guests for the sake of good ratings?
Todd Herzog won his season of Survivor: China in 2008. But in 2013, it seemed like he wasn't going to survive much longer.
When he appeared on Dr. Phil's show, he was so wildly intoxicated that he literally had to be carried out to his chair.
According to the investigation by STAT and The Boston Globe, the audience never knew the whole story.
"Herzog, who was battling alcoholism, told STAT and the Boston Globe that he was not intoxicated when he arrived at the Los Angeles studio."
You'd think that, even if he had shown up drunk, they would have worked to sober him up, right?
"In his dressing room, he said he found a bottle of Smirnoff vodka. He drank all of it. Then someone handed him a Xanax, he said, telling him it would 'calm his nerves.'"
That's just one allegation.
"Guests have been left without medical help as they face withdrawal from drugs."
And there's a very disturbing allegation included in the report of, well, another variety.
"One person said she was directed by a show staff member to an open-air drug market to find heroin for her detoxing niece."
Neither of those should happen for someone who is seeking treatment for addiction issues.
A representative for the show, Martin Greenberg, denied the accusations about Herzog, the bottle of vodka, and the Xanax.
"We do not do that with this guest or any other."
He goes on to refer to the allegations as "absolutely, unequivocally untrue."
We think that it's possible for a single isolated incident to be the actions of a rogue producer who makes bad choices.
But we're talking about an alleged pattern of behavior on the part of the series, here, not about one bottle in the wrong room.
It's also worth noting, as the report does, that some of Dr. Phil's own employees have spoken out before.
"Some of McGraw’s own employees have raised alarms about the treatment of guests."
And about the treatment of employees.
"In one lawsuit filed last year against McGraw and his production company in Los Angeles Superior Court, a former segment director, Leah Rothman, accused McGraw of false imprisonment for trapping employees in a room to threaten them over leaks to the media."
Yikes. And it sounds like guests fare even worse.
"Rothman also alleged that guests complained that their lives were 'ruined.' One guest attempted suicide after the show, according to a deposition with another staff member."
This is hardly the first time that Dr. Phil has been accused of exploiting vulnerable people for entertainment purposes.
(Remember when his dubious interview with Shelly Duvall?)
But the accusation that Dr. Phil's producers are directing addicts on where to buy drugs before filming is a little unsettling.
It'd be nice to believe that maybe producers just want to make sure that addicts buy drugs from safer dealers if they're going to buy them somewhere.
But none of that would explain away that alleged vodka bottle. Or that Xanax.
And considering the massive profits that Dr. Phil -- the show and the man -- rakes in, you have to look if they have a motive to make things look worse and more sensational for the cameras.
And perhaps less of a motive to make sure that everybody gets helped.
These accusations are alarming. Will further accusations follow?