Celebrity psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw is enduring tremendous backlash for a tweet he posted, then quickly deleted, Tuesday that asked his 1.1 million followers to give a "yes" or "no" response on a question that, to many, suggested rape.
The tweet, posted at 5:49 p.m. on Tuesday, asked: "If a girl is drunk, is it OK to have sex with her? Reply yes or no to @drphil #teensaccused."
In typical Twitter fashion, hundreds of offended tweeters flung angry responses and jokes at McGraw. Now, a petition on Change.org with nearly 1,400 signatures demands an apology from McGraw as well as a show dedicated to rape awareness.
"As a former college sexual assault activist who taught about rape and consent, and friend to many survivors, I am shocked and appalled by this question," wrote Carmen Rios, the petition's creator. "There is no question, Dr Phil: Rape is rape."
The petition demands McGraw produce a show that "shines a light on survivors of rape and sexual assault and begin a national conversation about the specifics of consent – which includes not raping people while they are drunk or otherwise unable to consent."
A rep for McGraw released a statement defending, explaining and apologizing for the "ill-advised" tweet:
“This Tweet was intended to evoke discussion leading into a very serious show topic based upon a recent news story, hence the #teensaccused label. It was a poll question, not a statement or a joke. As he has maintained over many years, Dr. Phil believes that the position of those incapacitated in any fashion — be it drugs, alcohol, age or mental illness — cannot and do not have the capacity to give their consent to anything, especially sex, which could have life-changing repercussions."
"This was a research post in preparation for a show, not a personal post, and Dr. Phil deleted it the second he saw it. It was clearly ill-advised. We sincerely apologize that it suggested anything other than what was intended: data gathering. As you can imagine, Dr. Phil is very upset that this happened.”